“The Virgin Suicides” by Jeffrey Eugenides
Compelling and beautifully written, “The Virgin Suicides” might just be the most gripping book I’ve ever read. So much could go wrong with the sensitive topic of teenage suicide, but the gothic story of the five Lisbon sisters, otherwise known as the untouchables, can haunt you like a dream.
The story is told from the perspective of a group of neighborhood boys–themselves trapped in the ambiguity of teenage years–as they observe and almost stalk the Lisbon home. Although EMTs try to save the youngest sister, Cecilia, from her first attempt of suicide (slashing her wrists in the bath tub), they return once more with no hope of saving the girl who is impaled on a fence after jumping to her death the night of a sober party.
Jeffery Eugenides is the rare writer who can make a girl blow-drying her hair by a window sound like something out of a dream. His writing is like the strange, midafternoon sleepiness you get waking up in gentle nightmare.
Sofia Coppola’s film version of “The Virgin Suicides” also captures the dream-like state of the novel—through visual portrayal. The film doesn’t fill in some of the holes that the book does, but no one could play the most rebellious sister Lux like Kirsten Dunst. Oh, and let’s not forget the added bonus of Josh Hartnett.