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Lefty makes a living selling silkworm cocoons harvested by his sister, Desdemona.
The siblings are orphans; their parents are victims of the ongoing Greco-Turkish War.
He intended Middlesex to be "the story [he] wasn't getting from the memoir".
According to Eugenides, the voice "had to render the experience of a teenage girl and an adult man, or an adult male-identified hermaphrodite".Its characters and events are loosely based on aspects of Eugenides' life and observations of his Greek heritage.It is not an autobiography; unlike the protagonist, Eugenides is not intersex.After discovering in his library research 5-alpha-reductase deficiency, an autosomal recessive condition manifested primarily in inbred, isolated population groups, his perception of the novel significantly changed.Rather than a "slim fictional autobiography" of an intersex individual, the novel would be epic in scope, tracing the lives of three generations of Greek Americans.These accounts cover the conception of Cal, his teenage years, and the discovery of his intersex condition.Throughout the book, Cal weaves his opinion of the events in hindsight and of his life after his father's funeral.He could not, however, portray Cal's grandparents intimately, so he completely abandoned his preceding year's draft in favor of writing the book in the third-person.He gradually violated his narrative convention by restoring the first-person voice amid the third-person narration to depict the mindsets of both Cal and Cal's grandparents.Although Eugenides sought expert advice about intersex, sexology, and the formation of gender identity, he refrained from meeting with intersex people, saying, "[I] decided not to work in that reportorial mode.Instead of trying to create a separate person, I tried to pretend that I had this [physical feature] and that I had lived through this as much as I could".