One of those novels which fully deserve to command the cult fan following they already do. Written in the third person narrative mode, Jeffrey Eugenides' debut is a black comedy in all its essence. Alternately grim in its portrayal of the sense of isolation that characterizes every individual's teenage years and humorous in its depiction of an American suburban neighborhood and adolescent boys, The Virgin Suicides
is a delightfully sordid mixture of tragedy and humour. I don't know why but the mode of narration and the writing style reminded me of Harper Lee right away.
It's a bit difficult to immerse oneself in the plot right from the get go as the pace is rather languid and the descriptions of the numerous characters, fleeting and brief. But I found myself getting engrossed from the middle portion onward.
Typing out a summary of the plot will be highly redundant since the description here is more than enough to provide the reader with an overview. But the book is so much more than just that. The macabre tale of the suicides notwithstanding, the central theme could be considered a metaphor of decadence and stagnation. Of inexorable loneliness.
I expect the book to remain ingrained in my memories not for Eugenides' unique writing style. Not for the morbidity of the plot. Not even for all the subtle teenage angst. But rather for the feelings of solidarity it evoked in me. Eugenides makes the reader feel what the Lisbon sisters could have been feeling or atleast try and understand their predicament and the obsession of the neighborhood boys who idolized them, without sounding the least bit dramatic or sentimental. And herein lies his achievement.