How did you choose the character names in Middlesex?
Dear Jeffrey Eugenides,

It's interesting how you use names in this book. Some characters have eloquent Greek names, after figures in history and mythology. Very cool. Other people are given strange nicknames that describe how they fit into the story. Their real names are not really important (like The Obscure Object). Can you talk some more about why you named characters in these two distinct ways?

— Sharon B.

Dear Sharon,

I have one requirement for characters' names: They have to help me see the character. The name has to be right or I can't conjure the personality. So I cast around, usually, trying out different names until I find one that feels right. In Middlesex, I used some nicknames to add credibility to the narrative. It seemed to me that Cal, like any memoirist, might choose to disguise certain people's identities. But mainly I liked calling The Obscure Object "The Obscure Object." That name was the open-sesame that revealed her to me.

— Jeffrey Eugenides


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