The Virgin Suicides

The Virgin Suicides

Book - 1993
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This beautiful and sad first novel, recently adapted for a major motion picture, tells of a band of teenage sleuths who piece together the story of a twenty-year old family tragedy begun by the youngest daughter's spectacular demise by self-defenstration, which inaugurates 'the year of the suicides.'
Publisher: New York : Warner Books, c1993
ISBN: 9780446670258
0446670251
Characteristics: 249 p. ; 21 cm

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k
kwsmith
Jun 25, 2017

This novel tells the tragic story of five beautiful sisters growing up in a suburban Detroit neighbourhood during the 1970's. On the cusp of womanhood, the five young sisters all kill themselves. The book is told from the perspective of a group of anonymous males who admired the sisters from afar. Years after the deaths, the men reminisce about the dead girls and ponder why the girls killed themselves.

JCLSamS Oct 26, 2016

Though this book was beautifully written, atmospheric, and captivating, it was an uncomfortable book to read and I was quite relieved when it finally ended. The perverse obsession the boys have with the Lisbon girls was somehow more disturbing than the suicides.

Chapel_Hill_KatieJ Sep 18, 2016

This is an incredibly haunting, beautifully written book. The eeriness is compounded by the collective unknown narrators. Readers only see the Lisbon girls through the narrators’ eyes. This group of boys, whoever they are, grew older and still struggled to find explanations for the unimaginable suicides of the five Lisbon girls.

o
originofanna
Jul 15, 2016

I love this book. It's dark and atmospheric and the outside perspective of the boys obsessed with the girls really got me into the story.

CMLibrary_sfetzer May 17, 2016

The Virgin Suicides follow the lives and the subsequent untimely deaths of the five daughters of the Lisbon family. Set in mid-1970’s Michigan, the family tragedies begin when the youngest daughter, Cecilia, exhibits an inexplicable urge to end her own life. The resulting story of the family’s reaction to her death as well as the late adolescence of the other sisters is told beautifully in a unique narration style by a group of boys who knew the girls. Though the situations themselves may be peculiar to these characters, the overwhelming emotions that Eugenides provokes in the reader will be relatable to anyone. His depictions of the struggles of adolescence are often both dark and poignant.

r
reillygill
Apr 04, 2016

Haunting and beautiful. I read this in two days.

c
clarencedavis
Jan 27, 2016

I adored this novel, which was the first book I've read by J. Eugenides. I found it difficult to believe that this book was a first novel, too; the prose was pitch perfect throughout the novel, and characterization was constructed so vividly also. The story is dark and a little depressing, but deftly illustrated in an elegiac style. Perhaps the story can be said to be an indictment of middle class American repression. That's only part of it, however.
Moreover, for those who love this novel, please find your way to the works of John Hawkes, whom was Mr. Eugenides' teacher in college.
Finally, I will be reading Eugenides again.

a
ashanthifrancis
Dec 29, 2015

The Virgin Suicides is a critically acclaimed novel by author Jeffrey Eugenides. This novel surrounds the mysterious suicides of the Lisbon sisters: five teenage girls in Gross Point, Michigan. The novel is told from the point of view of the neighbourhood boys who are fascinated with these girls and are seeking an explanation for their tragic deaths and the strange circumstances surrounding them. The girls are a complete mystery to the boys, and they find themselves infatuated with the sole “idea” of the Lisbon sisters. The author goes through the Lisbon girls’ lives as explained by the boys, and shows how strange they really were: unrealistically strict parents, secret love affairs, self harm, and a special focus on the youngest sister Cecilia, who had attempted suicide before, and Lux, the heartbreaker of the group. This novel acts as an exaggeration of the life of a teenage girl: filled with drama, sadness, love, heartbreak, and finding yourself. The novel has a very nostalgic feel; reflecting on the wonderful and tragic period that is adolescence. It also touches on the theory of “idea vs. reality and shows how the boys were fascinated with the facade surrounding the girls rather than the actual girls themselves. This novel was turned into a film by director Sofia Coppola which serves as a perfect companion and accurate representation of the story. It’s quite a mature read, but I feel that it’s a very powerful and touching story suitable for both teens and adults.

r
readsalot80
Feb 27, 2015

I read "MIddlesex" before I read this book and I think I would have liked this book more if I read it first. This is a dark book about one family's tragic life. Its told from the neighborhood boy's perspective as they spy on the Lisbon sisters and the strange family life they lead. They boys look back on the Lisbon sisters' suicides and the continued effect it has had on their lives. This book is not for anyone who doesn't like to read dark and sad books.

bnotash70 Aug 12, 2014

Listened to the audiobook, it seemed so incredibly sad that the girls were so unhappy that they had to find ways to die in order to leave the trap of a home their parents had created/neglected/littered. The mother was clearly mentally ill.
The boys who watched them from afar were understandably mesmerized.

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Iridollae
Sep 21, 2010

At some point, we looked up into the sky to see that all the fish flies had died. The air was no longer brown but blue. Using kitchen brooms, we swept bugs from poles and windows and electrical lines. We stuffed them into bags, thousands upon thousands of insect bodies with wings of raw silk, and Tim Winer, the brain, pointed out how the fish flies' tails resembled those of lobsters. "They're smaller," he said, "but possess the same basic design. Lobsters are classified in the phylum Arthropoda, same as insects. They're bugs. And bugs are only lobsters that have learned to fly."

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