Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
After years of slogging through pointless, derivative novels, it was a joy to read something so thoroughly engaging, original and well-written. I didn't love Calliope, the narrator, I respected and admired her.
Eugenides is an amazing talent. I've never seen an author play around with past, present and future tense with such alacrity.
The novel is so redolent of immigrant culture it made me yearn terribly for juicier ethnic life than we have on Boston's South Shore. I finished the book thinking, God, it's so white where I am. So, so white. When I put down the book, my body literally ached for the colorful New York Jews of my childhood, and for the wonderful ethnic neighborhoods of Chicago, my favorite of the cities I've lived in.
A delightful read. But long, so don't start it when you're too busy.