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The Portable Veblen by Elizabeth McKenzie


“…….By thirty, she had managed to put away the simmering loneliness of childhood, finding relief in things outside herself, such as in skillfully tending family members who were scattered and needy, and becoming a secret expert on the life of Thorstein Veblen. To ward off uneasy feelings that crept in at unguarded moments, she’d drawn upon a wide array of materials and activities, keeping up with all major periodicals of the day, typing along to Norwegian films, clipping interesting pictures from magazines for some future project, taking brisk bike rides. And then came Paul, and the whole enterprise of their future. Escapist feelings at this point showed a serious breakdown in self-discipline. And strangest of all, right at the moment she should be happiest……….A few quiet sobs made her feel moist and self-pitying. When the squirrel was around, she felt grounded, real, at ease. Did it matter if relief came in the form of an animal who stuck around and seemed to care?”- excerpt from The Portable Veblen

The squirrel on the cover is one of the main characters of Elizabeth McKenzie’s novel, The Portable Veblen. And yes, it does have a lot of influence on the life of Veblen Amundsen-Hovda. Veblen, named after the illustrious economist Thorstein Veblen, has left behind the memories of her confused childhood. She now talks to squirrels and smiles at sunshine. Her fiancé Paul, is looking forward to their upcoming wedding, but starts having doubts when he comes across her quirks and more so, when he meets her mother. And to top it all up, the squirrel disapproves of Paul, and Veblen seems to understand that.

Today, when the books we read go deeper than the written word, this light-hearted love story is just what one may want, to unwind after a long day at work.Quick paced, cute, warm and fuzzy, the book is bound to make you laugh at the totally lame, but common idiosyncrasies of the main characters. The novel reminded me of  The Rosie Project, another light-hearted romance that brought out the simplicity of love. And yes!!!! The squirrel very sweetly brings to light the issues that many of us ignore.

A funny and entertaining read!!!



About artikaaurorabakshi

Artika Aurora Bakshi Artika Aurora Bakshi is the author of three well-acclaimed children’s books,My Little Sikh Handbook, My Little Sikh Handbook 2: Ardas, My Little Sikh Handbook: Travel Journal, and an anthology of stories, Hold On To Me. Her first story, set in Amritsar, during the pre-Partition period, All She Had Left, was published on Story Mirror. She co-manages, a manuscript help and book review site. Her passion for reading has led her to helping other writers with their manuscripts. She comes from a family of lawyers and has a master’s degree in International Banking & Finance. Currently based in Sri Lanka, she teaches Commerce and History on a part-time basis at an international school and enjoys being part of the literary scene in Sri Lanka. A regular at the Galle Literary Festival and other literary events in Sri Lanka, Artika’s articles and book reviews have featured in the Daily Mirror, Daily News, The Ceylon Chronicle, and various blogs, such as,,, She was actively involved with SAARC Women’s Association of Sri Lanka and was President of the Association in 2016. An avid reader, Artika runs an online book club with a membership base of over 600 members. Her quotes are featured under soul.nightingale on Instagram and on Soul Nightingale by Artika Aurora Bakshi on Facebook. Artika is also working on her fourth children’s book in the My Little Sikh Handbook series and a second anthology of stories for adults. You can reach Artika at .

One comment on “The Portable Veblen by Elizabeth McKenzie

  1. Libby Cole Author
    March 2, 2016

    This sounds cute!


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This entry was posted on March 2, 2016 by in Book Reviews, Fiction, Romance and tagged , .
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