I honestly thought that the book would be more about Termeer’s marriage to Anna, the daughter of his financial guardian. But I think the real meat of the narrative has to do with Termeer speaking to the reader about who he is and what factors in his life formed him (in his own opinion).
While I tend to avoid male writers writing female characters, in this case, Eugenides makes it work by accepting his limitations. He is writing from a perspective of knowing women, but never truly knowing them or being able to empathize fully with the unknown things that women experience and go through.
The novel uses its single sentence in a way that makes it an accessible and compelling read. It goes to show that it’s important to see beyond the quirks and give even the weirdest sounding books a chance.
In some modernist novels that I’ve read, I’ve noticed a particular trade-off that sometimes happens between form and narrative. I was pleased to see that Arno Schmidt is a writer that can perform the delicate balancing act without leaving the narrative behind to do so. This is a review of Nobodaddy’s Children.