The Portable Veblen

Elizabeth McKenzie

Meet Veblen: a passionate defender of the anti-consumerist views of her name-sake, the iconoclastic economist Thorstein Veblen. She’s an experienced cheerer-upper (mainly of her narcissistic, hypochondriac, controlling mother), an amateur translator of Norwegian, and a firm believer in the distinct possibility that the plucky grey squirrel following her around can understand more than it lets on.

Meet her fiancé, Paul: the son of good hippies who were bad parents, a no-nonsense, high-flying neuroscientist with no time for squirrels. His recent work on a device to minimize battlefield trauma has led him dangerously close to the seductive Cloris Hutmacher, heiress to a pharmaceuticals empire, who is promising him fame and fortune through a shady-sounding deal with the Department of Defence.

What could possibly go wrong?

Reviews of The Portable Veblen

  • ‘Man oh man, do I love this book! Audacious, imaginative, and totally wonderful: The whole books zips and zings’ Karen Joy Fowler, author of We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves

    ‘Wildly brilliant. Razor-sharp, intimate, hilarious and profound. Every page is a delight’ Emma Jane Unsworth, author of Animals

    ‘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

    ‘A deeply observed universe where heroines are named for economists and the high stakes of capitalism are set to collide with the chatter of small wild animals. Both humorous and wrenching’ Samantha Hunt, author of The Invention of Everything Else and Mr. Splitfoot

    ‘McKenzie’s story of an ambitious young neurologist and the seductions of the darker side of the medical economy is both incisive and hilarious’ Abraham Verghese, author of Cutting for Stone

    ‘Quirky and smart. If you loved Karen Joy Fowler’s We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, you’ll love this’ Glamour