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The Virgin Suicides

The Virgin Suicides

“The Virgin Suicides” was Jeffrey Eugenides’ first novel and is an extraordinary introduction to his world view.  It was later adapted into a film where Sofia Coppola made her directorial debut.  The American writer is also the author of two other books, “Middlesex” and “The Marriage Plot” as well as several short stories and essays.

Set in early 1970s suburban America, “The Virgin Suicides” is as the title suggests about the suicides of sisters, the impact it has on the community in which they live and the mythology that builds up around their inexplicable actions.

 

 

What is the book trying to say about adolescence and why are the sisters seen differently than the rest of the girls in the community?  

How would you describe the various relationships and why do you think the suicides were committed?

Did you enjoy this book?  How would you rate it?

 

Average Rating of All Readers

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Steve February 28, 2014, 11:07 pm

    The Lisbon sisters almost seem to be unreal, as if they were imagined by the teenage boys. They built up a fantasy life for them, fancied them but never really got to touch them and so created an unreal memory, but that’s what memories really are, life with the boring bits taken out.

    It’s a very good read, I enjoyed it and Eugenides didn’t disappoint in his next novel, Middlesex, either.

  • Allison February 28, 2014, 10:32 pm

    The book follows in a tradition of seeing the darkness in the seemingly perfect suburbias, tree-lined heaven with bad stuff happening behind the curtains. Maybe it was boredom that drove the sisters to it?

    Having grown up in the burbs I could understand, it was like one long Sunday. Boredom would not be an exciting reason for all that happened and the voyeurs certainly wanted it to be more. I suppose it’s a human need to create meaning where mundane is the answer.

  • David February 27, 2014, 9:36 pm

    I really think the book is much more amusing than your other readers have suggested, I know it’s a morbid subject but it is darkly comical how the girls will take their lives, or maybe that’s just my dark sense of humour. The whole tone of the writing is humorous.

    I do agree in the end it’s not about the girls but about the impact on the boys who were watching at the time and then trying to remember what happened. And in the end they don’t really know, they can only speculate and romanticise because anything else would not match the spectacular happenings in the home.

  • Jenny Allen February 16, 2014, 5:32 pm

    The tedium of suburbia is captured very well and then is thrown into sharp relief or even the shade by the extraordinary actions of the sisters. The contrast is very powerful, and gives the suicides even more impact. Although they probably don’t need ratcheting up any more as they are already intense, particularly the 1st suicide.

  • Emma Stone February 16, 2014, 4:56 pm

    The book captures the whole suburban feel of the 1970s very well. I particularly like the focus on Dutch Elm disease and how it was quite a shock to see healthy trees being taken down. I’ve always felt the author is linking this to changes going on in the community caused by the suicides, how everything that was certain is being ripped up.

    The other aspect I like is the reality that this captures, how we never really understand what’s going on in other people’s lives, we can guess and speculate but it’s a mystery really.