The Dog of the North

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.
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.

The Portable Veblen

When free-spirited office temp Veblen (named after the great iconoclastic economist Thorstein Veblen) gets engaged to Paul, a brilliant and ambitious neurologist developing a device to reduce battlefield head trauma, it seems like a perfect match. But why do they feel on edge? One answer: Veblen’s parents (a domineering, hypochondriacal mom, a shell-shocked dad). Another answer: Paul’s parents, ex-hippies who dote on his developmentally disabled brother. With exuberance and wit, McKenzie explores dysfunctional families, the military-medical complex, and the inner lives of squirrels (or one particular squirrel), and asks: Where do our families end and we begin? How do we stay true to our ideals? In the words of Karen Joy Fowler, The Portable Veblen is “filled with an electric energy. A book like no other. I read it and I was never the same!”