Like A Virgin Suicide

“It didn’t matter in the end how old they had been, or that they were girls, but only that we had loved them, and that they hadn’t heard us calling, still do not hear us, up here in the tree house with our thinning hair and soft bellies, calling them out of those rooms where they went to be alone for all time, alone in suicide, which is deeper than death, and where we will never find the pieces to put them back together. ” ~ Jeffrey Eugenides, ‘The Virgin Suicides’
Jeffrey Eugenides wrote one of my favorite books, ‘The Virgin Suicides’. At the time of its release, it resonated on a number of levels. Above all else, I fell in love with the beauty of his words – the way he put them together, both sprawling yet sparingly. In the claustrophobic world of the Lisbon sisters, he created an entire universe of the pain and ache of being young and seeing no way out of it. Life expanded and pronounced itself in the details of being a girl – and a boy who watched a girl. In the grooves of a record, in the chopping down of a tree, in the bathroom of adolescent secrets.
While browsing the bookstore the other day, I came upon his latest work “The Marriage Plot” which I happily snatched up for our upcoming trip to Maine. Though I wasn’t the biggest fan of ‘Middlesex’, I’m hoping that this new one has a few gems in it. I tend to be a fan of individual books rather than authors – in the same way that I enjoy singles over albums. Obviously there are exceptions, and notable ones at that ~ Edith Wharton, Gregory Maguire, Shirley Horn, and Madonna to name a few masters and mistresses of words and music ~ but for the most part I get too tired of one voice or sound after a while, and feel the need for change. That restlessness was something the Lisbon sisters couldn’t overcome, not in that house, and not in that time.
“They had killed themselves over our dying forests, over manatees maimed by propellers as they surfaced to drink from garden hoses; they had killed themselves at the sight of used tires stacked higher than the pyramids; they had killed themselves over the failure to find a love none of us could ever be. In the end, the tortures tearing the Lisbon girls pointed to a simple reasoned refusal to accept the world as it was handed down to them, so full of flaws.” ~ Jeffrey Eugenides, ‘The Virgin Suicides’
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