Review: The Portable Veblen by Elizabeth McKenzie

The Portable Veblen  is the sort of book that makes me want to give up writing. It cleverly interweaves the diverse topics of squirrels and traumatic brain injury, love and family relationships, along with a Norwegian economist to make a strong story that keeps you reading all the way though. Veblen is a 30 year old temporary medical secretary when she meets Paul, a research doctor. She is creative and alternative: having grown up with hippy parents, Paul wants to live life by the rules. Veblen queries twenty first century materialism: Paul embraces it. Despite this, they fall in love and plan to marry, but of course, being a book, the path is far from straightforward. Their quirky families and conflicting beliefs cause problems, but these are multiplied as Paul wrangles with big pharma to try to develop a new medical device that could save soldiers lives when they experience traumatic brain injury in the battlefield. Readable literary fiction, this book mixes humour with intelligence, and keeps you reading to the end.
The Portable Veblen is around £12.99 at time of writing.