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Feast Days
Cover of Feast Days
Feast Days
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So. We were Americans abroad. We weren’t the doomed travellers in a Paul Bowles novel, and we weren’t the idealists or the malarial, religion-damaged burnouts in something by Greene; but we were people far from home nevertheless. Our naivety didn’t have political consequences. We had G.P.S. in our smartphones. I don’t think we were alcoholics. Our passports were in the same drawer as our collection of international adapters, none of which seemed to fit in Brazilian wall sockets. My husband was in the chrysalis stage of becoming a rich man, and idealism was never my vice. I was ancillary a word that comes from the Latin for having the status of a female slave’. That’s the sort of thing I know, and it tells you something about how I misspent my education. The term among expats for people like me was trailing spouse’ . . .
So. We were Americans abroad. We weren’t the doomed travellers in a Paul Bowles novel, and we weren’t the idealists or the malarial, religion-damaged burnouts in something by Greene; but we were people far from home nevertheless. Our naivety didn’t have political consequences. We had G.P.S. in our smartphones. I don’t think we were alcoholics. Our passports were in the same drawer as our collection of international adapters, none of which seemed to fit in Brazilian wall sockets. My husband was in the chrysalis stage of becoming a rich man, and idealism was never my vice. I was ancillary a word that comes from the Latin for having the status of a female slave’. That’s the sort of thing I know, and it tells you something about how I misspent my education. The term among expats for people like me was trailing spouse’ . . .
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  • AudioFile Magazine Narrator Christine Lakin is every bit the voice of an expat who is encountering the economic and cultural stratifications of S�o Paulo, Brazil. As MacKenzie's audiobook places listeners in the upper-class world of wealthy professionals, Lakin gives voice to the Emma, a woman whose husband works a high-powered job, the specifics of which are never fully clear to her or the listener. After a dinner out, the couple is robbed, a traumatic experience that leads to a clearer view of the disenfranchised, a view she seeks to understand through a circle of new friends. As she does so, cracks appear in her relationship with her husband. Lakin's performance perfectly captures Emma's tangle of thoughts and interpretations of her experience abroad. S.P.C. � AudioFile 2018, Portland, Maine
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from November 20, 2017
    No one could accuse the heroine of MacKenzie’s second novel (after City of Strangers) of leading an unexamined life, and the wit with which she conducts that examination elevates this brilliant work. Emma—her name evokes Flaubert’s restless housewife—is a “trailing spouse” accompanying her investment banker husband to São Paulo, “a city that reminded you of what Americans used to think the future would look like—gleaming and decrepit at once.” Possessing a degree in cultural anthropology and dead languages, she interrogates her position in this unfamiliar, stratified society: “There were aspects of the world that, because of my husband, I had the luxury of not paying attention to.” Emma gives English lessons, lunches with affluent wives, flirts with adultery, and muses on time as a “confusion of folds,” seeing Brazil, her marriage, and language as palimpsests bearing signs of the past, the present, and the future. Her observations are satirical, incisive, and often melancholy. As street protests calling for political change intensify, so too do Emma’s anxiousness and aimless desires, beset as she is by an “affliction of vagueness.” There is no cataclysm but rather a pervasive sense of unrest, both large and small scale, social and personal, conveyed in MacKenzie’s unruffled, discerning prose. With it, MacKenzie has captured one of the most memorable narrative voices in recent fiction. Agent: Anna Stein, ICM Partners.

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Feast Days
Feast Days
Laurence Bouvard
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