Literature Study GuidesMiddlesexBook 4 Chapter 27 Summary

Middlesex | Study Guide

Jeffrey Eugenides

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Middlesex | Book 4, Chapter 27 : Air Ride | Summary



In the present Cal bumps into Julie Kikuchi, as he has been half-hoping to do, at a museum show opening. Nearing the end of his book, he says, "Let me tell you why I didn't call you."

Milton leaves in the middle of the night with a briefcase full of money to meet the kidnapper, who has information that only a family member would know. The kidnapper tells Milton to leave the money in a trash can at Grand Trunk Station. When Milton angrily returns to confront the kidnapper, he realizes that it's his brother-in-law, Father Mike.

Milton and Father Mike end up in a car chase all the way to the Canadian border, where both of them crash into the cars in front of them. Milton's Cadillac plunges off the Ambassador Bridge.

Chapter Eleven takes over the family business and runs it into the ground within five years.


Cal's gender is not a surprise; he begins the book with it. Father Mike extorting money from Milton is an unseen twist. It propels Mike in the narrative, gives him weight that he otherwise would not have as an assistant priest or a ditched fiancé. He was attempting to flee his marriage; he is actually the runaway husband that would give Tessie her trilogy of runaways.

Milton, so sure of himself, would have a hard time understanding that gender is not absolute. His death is tragic and turns Middlesex, which has its comic moments, into a tragedy. The preventable death of a character is always tragic because it leaves the characters and the readers asking "what if" or saying "if only." Perhaps it takes Cal so long to write his story because he feels somewhat responsible for the death of his father. However, he also realizes that it "would not have been easy" for Milton to see him as a son and that there is a kind of "purity ... the purity of childhood" in always remaining a daughter to his father.

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