Middlesex is the kind of book that appeals to your emotions, that makes you feel, and that forces you to put it down despite how eagerly you want to know what happens next. It possesses that power to
Emotions, in my experience aren’t covered by single words. I don’t believe in “sadness,” “joy,” or “regret.” … I’d like to have at my disposal complicated hybrid emotions, Germanic traincar constructions like, say, “the happiness that attends disaster.” Or: “the disappointment of sleeping with one’s fantasy.” … I’d like to have a word for “the sadness inspired by failing restaurants” as well as for “the excitement of getting a room with a minibar.” I’ve never had the right words to describe my life, and now that I’ve entered my story, I need them more than ever.
On top of the personal reflection aside from the reading, what delays the book is one that is intentional. I resist finishing it–putting it aside for an hour or two, or maybe overnight–just so that my time with Cal/Callie is not coming to a close so soon. In other words, I don’t want this wondrous, magical novel might never end.
hermaphrodite –1. One having the sex organs and many of the secondary sex characteristics of both male and female. 2. Anything comprised of a combination of diverse or contradictory elements. See synonyms at MONSTER.
And that is where I stopped. And looked up, to see if anyone was watching. The vast Reading Room thrummed with silent energy: people thinking, writing. The painted ceiling bellied overhead like a sail, and down below the green desk lamps glowed, illuminating faces bent over books. I was stooping over mine, my hair falling onto the pages, covering up the definition of myself. My lime green coat was hanging open. I had an appointment with Lace later in the day and my hair was washed, my underpants fresh. My bladder was full and I crossed my legs, putting off a trip to the bathroom. Fear was stabbing me. I longed to be held, caressed, and that was impossible. I laid my hand on the dictionary and looked at at. Slender, leaf-shaped, it had a braided rope ring on one finger, a gift from the Object. The rope was getting dirty. I looked at my pretty hand and then pulled it away and faced the word again. There it was, monster, in black and white, in a battered dictionary in a great city library.
Which reminds me twenty some years ago, sitting in a library, looking up the word homosexuality. Puberty is always a personal matter that nobody spoke about. Parents also avoided any talk of bodily matters. Reproductive organs and sexuality have been society’s taboo, let alone homosexuality. A similar dictionary, like the one Callie consulted, defined homosexuality as being some abnormal, perverted form of desire and proclivity. I couldn’t remember the exact words, but which imbue any comfort other than fear.
So much for the tenderness of the prose, I don’t want the book to end. I’m rationing now.