The Portable Veblen by Elizabeth McKenzie

The portable veblen review

I’m back in the swing of books and there are so many great ones in my bookshelf right now (and some of Adam’s too!). I had been wanting to read The Portable Veblen ever since I heard it made it to the Bailey’s WPFF shortlist but it’s kind of a big read so I put it off for a while until the cover enticed me again (white, a squirrel made out of black text, a spot of pink, literally perfect) and I managed to read it over the last few weeks.

General

The Portable Veblen is one of those brave books that goes down in literary history for being the biggest quirk on the shelf. To scratch only at the surface, the book tells the tale of protagonist Veblen who is wonderfully minimalist and extremely warm-hearted who, upon accepting her boyfriend’s proposal, suddenly begins to notice their differences and wonders if they are right for each other after all. The differences start (and end) with squirrels.

Literary

This book is well-written, really easy to read despite there being a good amount of description, plot and information. McKenzie had the balance perfectly and maintained it throughout the whole novel. It was really interesting, the clever references to forest life were wonderful and the characters were lovable. There is simply no one like Veblen.

Political Commentary

The Portable Veblen really questions us and challenges us with questions such as what is really important? Why are we so opposed to nature? How much money do we actually need? Is enjoyment of life and work better than wanting more all the time? Is it more rewarding to make your home yours with your own hands and making the most out of what you’ve got? It questions ethics especially when it comes to her partner Paul’s job as well as consumerism in general which is exactly what I needed to read right now to keep my money in my pocket!

I can totally see why this was shortlisted and I am genuinely sad it didn’t win!

This book is perfect for anyone a little bit nutty. (Pun intended. I’ll see myself out).

All my love,

H x

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