A Marker to Measure Drift

Alexander Maksik. Knopf, $24.95 (240p) ISBN 978-0-307-96257-7
Set amid the surf and hillside villages of a small Greek island, Maksik’s second novel (after You Deserve Nothing) follows new arrival Jacqueline, a Liberian woman near 20 years of age with a veiled, mysterious past. Homeless, starving, and trapped within the serene beauty of her new surroundings, she searches for shelter, taking refuge in a cave and offering massages to sunbathers for spare Euros. She is troubled by hallucinations of her mother and government employee father, but has sweet memories of her former lover, Bernard, and her younger sister, Saifa. Throughout, Jacqueline finds it difficult “to distinguish between what was happening and what had happened.” Paranoia makes her resistant to building personal connections and she moves from one location to the next on a journey that is deliberately paced and repetitive. Jacqueline’s psychological state is marked by emptiness and conflict; acceptance of charity sparks guilt, rare indulgences turn into painful stomachaches, and a series of unfinished spaces become briefly inhabited homes. Though the drawn-out mystery of this unanchored woman’s past may frustrate those in need of a more dynamic narrative, patient readers will be rewarded by Maksik’s gorgeous and evocative prose. Agent: Eric Simonoff, WME Entertainment. (July 30)
Reviewed on: 04/29/2013
Release date: 07/30/2013
Paperback - 240 pages - 978-0-385-67919-0
Paperback - 221 pages - 978-1-84854-807-7
Hardcover - 344 pages - 978-1-4448-1968-7
Paperback - 221 pages - 978-0-345-80386-3
Hardcover - 240 pages - 978-0-385-67917-6
Open Ebook - 149 pages - 978-0-307-96258-4
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