Middlesex



Mientras leía Middlesex, más de una vez llegué a sentir algo que bien podría expresarse con un mi pobre niño o pobre hombre, si bien alguien capaz de pasar por tamaña travesía genética sin ahogarse ni quedar permanentemente a la deriva, tiene bien poco de pobre:

     "I was born twice: first, as a baby girl, on a remarkably smogless Detroit day in January of 1960; and then again, as a teenage boy, in an emergency room near Petoskey, Michigan, in August of 1974. Specialized readers may have come across me in Dr. Peter Luce's study, "Gender Identity in 5-Alpha-Reductase Pseudohermaphrodites," published in the Journal of Pediatric Endocrinology in 1975. Or maybe you've seen my photograph in chapter sixteen of the now sadly outdated Genetics and Heredity. That's me on page 578, standing naked beside a height chart with a black box covering my eyes.

    My birth certificate lists my name as Calliope Helen Stephanides. My most recent driver's license (from the Federal Republic of Germany) records my first name simply as Cal. I'm a former field hockey goalie, long-standing member of the Save-the-Manatee Foundation, rare attendant at the Greek Orthodox liturgy, and, for most of my adult life, an employee of the U.S. State Department. Like Tiresias, I was first one thing and then the other. I've been ridiculed by classmates, guinea-pigged by doctors, palpated by specialists, and researched by the March of Dimes. A redheaded girl from Grosse Pointe fell in love with me, not knowing what I was. (Her brother liked me, too). An army tank led me into urban battle once; a swimming pool turned me into myth; I've left my body in order to occupy others -and all this happened before I turned sixteen."
                                                            (Jeffrey Eugenides, "The Silver Spoon", Middlesex)


Lo peculiar es que con esos pobre él, venía de la mano, durante más de la mitad del libro, la frase mental de pobre niña. Él y ella, o ella y él, se intercalaban una y otra vez durante la narrativa; sin competir, ni anularse entre ellos. Y realmente tiene sentido, pues como buenos elementos complementarios, jamás han estado separados. Ni siquiera la medicina, con toda su categorización es capaz de reducirlos a uno solo; el mero intento supone reconocer la presencia de ambos:

    "My mother and father were sitting only a foot apart during this speech, but each heard something different. Milton heard the words that were there. He heard "treatment" and "effective." Tessie, on the other hand, heard the words that weren't there. The doctor hadn't said my name, for instance. He hadn't said "Calliope" or "Callie." He hadn't said "daughter," either. He didn't use any pronouns at all".
                                                            (Jeffrey Eugenides, "The Oracular Vulva", Middlesex)


En este juego de silencios, sentí tanto a Callie como a Cal, y lamenté la "desaparición" de la primera como celebré la "aparición" del segundo. Y el manejo de Eugenides de esta transformación es tan sutil que se siente como lo más natural del mundo, como si en realidad el viaje de encuentro entre él y ella jamás hubiera pasado. Y es que realmente no interesa. Calliope, Callie, Cal... A fin de cuentas todos son la misma persona. Es una de esas raras instancias de un narrador único que es a la vez más de uno. Y narradores como Cal (y uso un nombre simplemente por temas de economía del lenguaje) no están para desperdiciarse:

    "[...] now, at the age of forty-one, I feel another birth coming on. After decades of neglect, I find myself thinking about departed great-aunts and -uncles, long-lost grandfathers, unknown fifth cousins, or, in the case of an inbred family like mine, all those things in one. And so before it's too late I want to get it down for good: this rollercoaster ride of a single gene through time. Sing now, O Muse, of the recessive mutation of my fifth chromosome! Sing how it bloomed two and a half centuries ago on the slopes of Mount Olympus, while the goats bleated and the olives dropped. Sing how it passed down through nine generations, gathering invisibly within the polluted pool of the Stephanides family. And sing how Providence, in the guise of a massacre, sent the gene flying again; how it blew like a seed across the sea to America, where it drifted through our industrial rains until it fell to earth in the fertile soil of my mother's own mid-western womb.
    Sorry if I get a little Homeric at times. That's genetic, too."
                                                            (Jeffrey Eugenides, "The Silver Spoon", Middlesex)

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