Have you ever read a book that was so good, you couldn't put it down, but you were a little sad to see it end? As if, in reading it, you were spending quality time with a good friend, and the end of the book was like saying goodbye to that friend for a long time? Middlesex was such a book for me.
Middlesex is more than just a book about a hermaphrodite - which first and foremost - I think steers people away if that is all they know about it. I absolutely loved this book. To me, it was more of a coming-of-age story, a turn-of-the-century story of America, and a family history/culture story. Add to these labels the fact that it is magnificently written - and I put Middlesex on the shelf with some great modern classics and some other lesser-known but equally great modern literature.
First, I'd relate this book, in part, to A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and Angela's Ashes - though Middlesex is the least depressing of the three. All of these books deal with the difficulty of being poor and living in a big city and of the difficulties of immigration into America at the turn of the century. They are all "rags to riches" stories in a sense.
I'm also going to relate this book to one of my other all time favorite books (perhaps I am the only one who sees the connections because I liked both of them so much). Eugenides writing reminded me very much of The Brothers K by David James Duncan. Also the story of a large family and self-discovery - these two books did an equally brilliant job weaving together the lives of several main characters - both had equally complicated but perfectly complimentary plot lines.
I am very interested to see further answers to this question (perhaps it will be moved to the discussion forum).