From the moment I saw this wonderful squirrelly cover I knew that I wanted to read The Portable Veblen. Which probably comes as no surprise when I run a blog called the Nut Press, have a grey squirrel sidekick and take more photos of the squirrels in my garden than just about anything else. Going in, I had very little idea what the novel was about. I just hoped that I would enjoy it, and the grey squirrel in it would get some fair coverage. Happily, it more than lived up to every expectation.
A riotously funny and deeply insightful adventure through capitalism, the medical industry, family, love, war and wedding-planning – from an electrically entertaining new voice
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?
Veblen’s wonderful voice had me from the first pages: she’s a really relatable character and I loved seeing how she worked through all the situations in the novel but especially enjoyed the added squirrel dynamic. Read more