The Virgin Suicides

The Virgin Suicides

3.83 (180,419 ratings by Goodreads)
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The shocking thing about the girls was how nearly normal they seemed when their mother let them out for the one and only date of their lives. Twenty years on, their enigmatic personalities are embalmed in the memories of the boys who worshipped them and who now recall their shared adolescence: the brassiere draped over a crucifix belonging to the promiscuous Lux; the sisters' breathtaking appearance on the night of the dance; and the sultry, sleepy street across which they watched a family disintegrate and fragile lives more

Product details

  • Paperback | 256 pages
  • 128 x 194 x 20mm | 181.44g
  • Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • New edition
  • New edition
  • 0747560595
  • 9780747560593
  • 17,873

Review quote

"A piercing first novel . . . lyrical and portentous."--"The New York Times""Mr. Eugenides is blessed with the storyteller's most magical gift, the ability to transform the mundane into the extraordinary."--"The New York Times Book Review""Arresting . . . uncannily evokes the wry voice of adolescence and a mixture of curiosity, lust, tenderness, morbidity, cynicism, and the naïveté surrounding these bizarre events."--"The Wall Street Journal"show more

Review Text

Wry and wistful, melancholy yet flecked with a dark thread of humour, Eugenides's novel is a remarkable debut to say the very least. The protagonists of the title are a group of adolescent sisters who kill themselves, one after the other, in a Seventies summer that stays immaculately preserved in the memories of the young boys who hero-worshipped these elusive creatures from afar. Set in suburban America, it's a bizarre story and one that in lesser hands could easily have tumbled into the melodramatic, but everything is handled here with enviable fluidity and the potentially macabre becomes instead gently luminous. It's told retrospectively and collectively by all the boys, represented with a single voice as they look back at their youth two decades on and remember the fascination that the Lisbon sisters exerted over their prosaic lives, endowing everything with a touch of mystery. As they piece together their story from fragments of information presented in the form of exhibits, the lives of these girls become almost a touchstone of youth, a melange of memory distilled into a single bright image. Virtually imprisoned inside their claustrophobic home, not by malice but by sheer ignorance, the sisters find different ways to assert their individuality and Eugenides's description of the ball, their only date, is heartbreakingly poignant in the way it depicts the quartet grabbing every moment of delicious freedom like drowning swimmers gasping for air. Despite the sad subject there are many humorous touches like the image of the brassiere casually draped over the crucifix, but one of the book's most moving moments comes near the end when, desperate for contact and slowly sinking into their final spiralling despair, the girls play snatches of plaintive songs down the phone, the boys responding with cheerful anthems of teenage hope they intend as salve to the girls' loneliness. Beautifully written and intensely poetic in style, this novel may be an acquired taste for some but no one could deny the power of imagination necessary to conjure this haunting vision of a family slowly torn apart by the spectre of suicide. (Kirkus UK)show more

About Jeffrey Eugenides

Jeffrey Eugenides was educated at Stanford and Brown Universities and now lives in Berlin. He is the author of more

Rating details

180,419 ratings
3.83 out of 5 stars
5 28% (51,076)
4 38% (67,884)
3 25% (45,066)
2 7% (12,573)
1 2% (3,820)

Our customer reviews

You know before reading this book I had heard so many wonderful things about and while I'll admit it was good I couldn't help but feel underwhelmed. Eugenides definitely has a beautiful and unique writing style but I felt like it didn't really live up to the hype surrounding it. I did enjoy it but I don't think it is something I will be re-reading. However, that doesn't mean someone else shouldn't give it a chance because at the end of the day I am glad to have read it. It was an interesting story and uniquely left you asking questions and expecting more even by the end. It isn't a long book so it is a good book you could spend a lazy weekend reading. Give it a more
by Melissa
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