From the National Book Award–longlisted author of The Portable Veblen
Penny Rush has problems. Her marriage is over; she’s quit her job. Her mother and stepfather went missing in the Australian outback five years ago; her mentally unbalanced father provokes her; her grandmother Dr. Pincer keeps experiments in the refrigerator and something worse in the woodshed. But Penny is a virtuoso at what’s possible when all else fails.
Elizabeth McKenzie, beloved novelist of California and its idiosyncrasies, follows Penny on her quest for a fresh start. There will be a road trip in the Dog of the North, an old van with gingham curtains, a piñata, and stiff brakes. There will be injury and peril. There will be a dog named Kweecoats and two brothers who may share a toupee. There will be questions: Why is a detective investigating her grandmother, and what is “the scintillator”? And can Penny recognize a good thing when it finally comes her way?
This slyly humorous, thoroughly winsome novel finds the purpose in life’s curveballs, insisting that even when we are painfully warped by those we love most, we can be brought closer to our truest selves.
Elizabeth McKenzie is the author of the novel The Portable Veblen, which was longlisted for the National Book Award and shortlisted for the Baileys Women’s Prize; a collection, Stop That Girl, shortlisted for The Story Prize; and the novel MacGregor Tells the World, a Chicago Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle, and Library Journal Best Book of the Year. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The Best American Nonrequired Reading, and was recorded for NPR’s Selected Shorts.
Gail Tsukiyama is the author of nine novels, including Women of the Silk, The Samurai's Garden, The Color of Air, and her latest, The Brightest Star. (June 2023) She has been the recipient of the Academy of American Poets Award, the PEN/Oakland Josephine Miles Award for Literary Excellence, and the Asia Pacific Leadership Award from the Center of the Pacific Rim and the Ricci Institute. One of fifty authors chosen by the Library of Congress to participate in the first National Book Festival in Washington D.C., she has taught at San Francisco State University, University of California, Berkeley, and Mills College.
Elizabeth McKenzie photo courtesy of Donka Farkas; Gail Tsukiyama photo courtesy of the publisher