Speakers Push Air

Read: The Virgin Suicides
April 6, 2012, 10:36 am
Filed under: Bookshelf, Reading | Tags: ,

“On the morning the last Lisbon daughter took her turn at suicide – it was Mary this time, and sleeping pills, like Therese – the two paramedics arrived at the house knowing exactly where the knife drawer was, and the gas oven, and the beam in the basement from which it was possible to tie a rope”

There aren’t many better opening sentences.

This is the second time I’ve read The Virgin Suicides. I loved it the first time. I loved it even more the second – I raced through the first reading, this time I savoured it. Eugenides writes of suicide and teenage sexuality and religion and pain and isolation and grief and all the rest and does it with a lightness of touch and gentle wit and one of the most original narrative voices I’ve ever come across (a collective, chorus of indistinct ‘we’ – full of personality but never reduced to one voice, to just one of the local boys who loved the Lisbon girls).  Utterly magical.

Dr. Armonson stitched up her wrist wounds. Within 5 minutes of the transfusion he declared her out of danger. Chucking her under the chin, he said, “What are you doing here, honey? Your not even old enough to know how bad life gets.” And it was then Cecelia gave orally what was to be her only form of suicide note, and a useless one at that, because she was going to live: “Obviously, Doctor,” she said, “you’ve never been a 13 year old girl.”

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