New York Times bestseller to speak next week

WRITTEN BY MARIA LEICHTY, STAFF REPORTER

Pulitzer Prize winner Jeffrey Eugenides is coming to Butler University.

Most renowned for his novels “The Virgin Suicides,” “Middlesex” and “The Marriage Plot,” Eugenides will discuss these books on Sept. 16 at 7:30 p.m. in Atherton Union.

English professor Dan Barden, a member of the Vivian S. Delbrook Visiting Writers Series Committee, said this will give Butler a chance to talk to a writer of high status.

“He comes out with a book every decade and it’s a real blockbuster,” Barden said. “He is one of our most important novelists in the series.”

Senior Emily Kile is taking the Visiting Writers Series class and said they are beginning discussion on Eugenides this Thursday. The class is required to read “Middlesex”
and “The Marriage Plot.”

“‘Middlesex’ is a complete page-turner, so it doesn’t really feel like class work,” Kile said.

Kile said students can better understand where he is coming from and pick his brain at the event.

Pulitzer Prize-winning  novel “Middlesex,” published in 2002, is a bestseller and part of Oprah’s Book Club. It is also a main part of the movie “Guilt Trip.”

The book is about a mutated gene that travels through three generations of a Greek family.

Eugenides has received a lot of critical acclaim.

“A chatty multigenerational saga that…has as many moving parts as a Rube Goldberg machine,” critic William Deresiewicz said of the novel in his New York Times article “Jeffrey Eugenides on Liberal Arts Graduates in Love.”

“‘The Marriage Plot’ possesses the texture and pain of lived experience,” Deresiewicz said in his article. “Eugenides has always been best on young love.”

His first novel, “The Virgin Suicides,” was published in 1993 and is about five sisters who each commit suicide within one year.

Book critic Peter Guttridge said the book was “not so much about suicide…but about unrequited love and the unknowable hurt of any action.”

It was made into a feature film in 1999, directed by Sofia Coppola, starring Kirsten Dunst and James Woods.

Love and coming of age are usually his central themes and American cities are his choice setting.

“He is very interested in documenting the American landscape in a way that most of us would understand and identify with,” Barden said.

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