The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides

In American suburbia, the five Lisbon sisters, ages 12 through 17, commit suicide. The youngest goes first, and after their parents sequester the family within the house, her sisters follow a year afterward. Their story is told by a group neighborhood of boys, now men, who in their fanatic obsession with the Lisbon sister have pieced together the events leading up to–and possibly causing–the suicides. The narrators never quite determine why the girls commit suicide, but this unanswered question opens up a world of thought for the reader. At pieces sweet and claustrophobic, humorous and unsettling, The Virgin Suicides is strangely engrossing and stands in a class of its own: a unusual novel that investigates without judgment.

The uncommon first person plural of narrators, which stand at a distance even as they watch the sisters in the privacy of their joint bathroom, captures the reader from the onset, moving swiftly through the plot yet pausing for intimate detail that brings the characters (the sisters, their parents, and even the narrators) to life. It creates a surreal and almost haunting atmosphere which maintains a sense of mystery despite the blunt introduction of the suicides. The intriguing journey back to the opening suicide  keeps the book interesting to the last page. I highly recommend it.

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