The Portable Veblen A Novel by Elizabeth Mckenzie

5/5
An exuberant, one-of-a-kind novel about love and family, war and nature, new money and old values by a brilliant?New Yorker?contributor

The Portable Veblen?is a dazzlingly original novel that?s as big-hearted as it is laugh-out-loud funny. Set in and around Palo Alto, amid the culture clash of new money and old (antiestablishment) values, and with the specter of our current wars looming across its pages,?The Portable Veblen?is an unforgettable look at the way we live now. A young couple on the brink of marriage?the charming Veblen and her fianc? Paul, a brilliant neurologist?find their engagement in danger of collapse. Along the way they weather everything from each other?s dysfunctional families, to the attentions of a seductive pharmaceutical heiress, to an intimate t?te-?-t?te with a very charismatic squirrel.?

Veblen (named after the iconoclastic economist Thorstein Veblen, who coined the term ?conspicuous consumption?) is one of the most refreshing heroines in recent fiction. Not quite liberated from the burdens of her hypochondriac, narcissistic mother and her institutionalized father, Veblen is an amateur translator and ?freelance self?; in other words, she?s adrift. Meanwhile, Paul?the product of good hippies who were bad parents?finds his ambition soaring. His medical research has led to the development of a device to help minimize battlefield brain trauma?an invention that gets him swept up in a high-stakes deal with the Department of Defense, a Bizarro World that McKenzie satirizes with granular specificity.?

As Paul is swept up by the promise of fame and fortune, Veblen heroically keeps the peace between all the damaged parties involved in their upcoming wedding, until she finds herself falling for someone?or something?else. Throughout, Elizabeth McKenzie asks: Where do our families end and we begin? How do we stay true to our ideals? And what is that squirrel?really?thinking? Replete with deadpan photos and sly appendices,?The Portable Veblen?is at once an honest inquiry into what we look for in love and an electrifying reading experience.

PRAIS9781594206856E

Advance Praise for Elizabeth McKenzie?s?The Portable Veblen

Abraham Verghese,?New York Times?bestselling author of?Cutting for Stone:
?A clever morality tale set against the verdant paradise of Palo Alto.? McKenzie?s story of an ambitious young neurologist and the seductions of the darker side of the medical economy is both incisive and hilarious.??

Karen Joy Fowler, PEN Faulkner winner for?We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves๐Ÿ˜•
?Man oh man, do I love this book! I have never read anything like it. I can?t believe how funny it is given that we?re dealing at times with pharmaceutical fraud, irreparable brain injury, and comatose veterans. (Family dysfunction, on the other hand, is always funny)? Audacious, imaginative, and totally wonderful: The whole books zips and zings.?
?The Portable Veblen?is the squirreliest novel I ever read. ?I enjoyed it completely.?
Ursula K. Le Guin, author of?The Dispossessed?and?The Left Hand of Darkness:
?The Portable Veblen?is the squirreliest novel I ever read. ?I enjoyed it completely.???

Gabe Hudson, author of?Dear Mr. President:
?Wildly entertaining and overflowing with piercing emotional truths, this audacious novel gives us an irresistible portrait of a sensitive young woman navigating the kaleidoscopic freakscape we call modern America. With casual aplomb, Elizabeth McKenzie tosses off sentences that will delight and bowl you over with their insight and hilarious truth-telling?.An elegy for our dying empire, full of wisdom and finely tuned grace notes about the secrets of the human heart.?

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