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Elizabeth McKenzie Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Stop That Girl (2005)Description / Buy at Amazon
MacGregor Tells the World (2007)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Portable Veblen (2016)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Dog of the North (2023)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Short Stories/Novellas

Publication Order of Anthologies

My Postwar Life (2012)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Anthologies

Santa Cruz Noir(2018)Description / Buy at Amazon

Elizabeth McKenzie, born on February 24, 1958, in Santa Cruz, California is a New York Times bestseller author. She did her masters (MA) in literature from Stanford University. Before publishing her own work, she worked as an assistant fiction editor at the Atlantic. In 2010, McKenzie took part in an NEA/Japan-US- Friendship Commission as a fellow. The author is currently a creative writing professor at Stanford University’s school of continuing-studies.

The novels written by Elizabeth McKenzie are Stop That Girl, MacGregor Tells- the World and the Portable Veblen. MacGregor Tells – the World has won the author many prizes including a San Francisco Chronicle, Chicago Tribune, and Library Journal Best-Book of the year. Even though the novel brought her huge honor and multiple wins, her most famous and acclaimed work remains to be a collection of stories called Stop That Girl. The collection was shortlisted for the Story Prize and was featured in numerous reputed magazines such as the Atlantic-Monthly, the New Yorker, Best American Non-required Reading, and the Pus-cart Prize anthology. The collection book has also been recorded for NPR’s Selected Shorts.

Stop That Girl is a heart-wrenching story of a girl, Ann Ransom, who in the process of growing up discovers the world and its people through her innocent, confused and curious eyes. Ann’s life is divided into many parts, thus, making the novel a collection of stories. In each story, Ann is haunted by nameless things and people and discovers the complexities of this universe. Human emotions and their unpredictability are showcased in such a beautiful and real way that this would be very hard for you to get over with.

In the beginning, we see Ann as an eight-year-old who is abandoned by her pregnant mother who sends her to her grandmother in Europe. In that completely alien nation, Ann discovers some disturbing things about her grandmother. Apparently, she is an extreme iconoclast and she shares her beliefs with that little girl which turns Ann’s mind. Ann then grows up to be a college girl, but her disfigured family still haunts her. Her grandmother’s reappearance in her college campus leaves Ann stunned and scared.

Another part of the novel takes you to Grand Canyon in America where Ann again remembers her school time crush and her mother’s story. Other characters that come and goes in Ann’s life are few landlords, a vegetable seller, and a young woman. All these people bring their own story to Ann’s life and make her think and wonder about everything this world is.

Ideas like feminism and existentialism are seen loudly shouting in the background. Ann is a lonely woman in a man’s world for whom every day’s survival brings a challenge. Ann is an extraordinary character, yet everything about her seems so ordinary. Like everyone else, she’s scared, lonely, and confused. And this makes us relate with her. Her story is captivating, and one that would stay with you forever. And even though the story is dramatic and real, the story is still fun to read and can calm your nerves. Elizabeth McKenzie’s masterpiece is a well-written piece of literature which is loved and appreciated all over the world.

The book was published in 2005 by Random House.

McKenzie’s second literary work, MacGregor Tells was published in 2007 by Random House. MacGregor Tells – the World is everything that Stop That Girl was, yet the novel is as different from the previous one as it can be. To simplify this statement, MacGregor Tells – the World still has the calmness and the intelligent, effortless writing, and well-written characters in search for something, but the plot is so different.

For starters, this time, our protagonist is a 22-year-old man named MacGregor West, and not an 8-year old girl. This novel is not much dramatic, but rather feels like a thriller and a satire on the society. Where Ann is scared and questioning everything in order to understand the world, MacGregor openly mocks every cruel thing and condemns those who hurt him. He is on a quest to search for his mother’s killer, as he believes there is one. He was orphaned when he was very young and grows up to realize that there is something more to her mother’s death than he knows. Even though until now it feels like a detective mystery novel, and it is one is some sense, the character is still real and somebody we can imagine seeing at the subway or eating alone in a restaurant.

On his quest, MacGregor West finds a beautiful woman, a damsel in distress, and finds out they have a lot in common, they might even be searching for the same thing. Thus, the journey begins and we are captured till the last page. Unlike Stop That Girl, it is a little away from reality, yet feels as real as the book you’re holding while reading it.

The story is fun, intense, and a mystery is always surrounded which makes it a page turner. And when the novel ends, you suddenly realize that a piece of you is broken as you’ll never be able to read this beautiful work for the first time ever again.

Published in 2016, The Portable Veblen is McKenzie’s most ambitious work ever, as said by her. Away from the drama, McKenzie tries her hand at an original light-hearted comedy. Set in a bureaucratic society, The Portable Veblen is a fun story of an adorable couple, Veblen, and Paul, who finds out that this marriage may not be what they want. The story introduces many fun, weird characters and situations which make it even harder for them to stay together, for example, a seductive heiress, or their greedy shattered families, and also a squirrel.

Like MacGregor Tells – the World, this one is again a satire. But in The Portable-Veblen, the theme is much stronger and central. As the couple goes through the difficult time, the reader enjoys all the drama as this all seems so inevitable. It is an honest and true account of our society which can make us think those things which are often right there but we somehow manage to ignore.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Elizabeth McKenzie

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