A hypnotic, spellbinding novel set in Greece and Africa, where a young Liberian woman reckons with a haunted past.
On a remote island in the Aegean, Jacqueline is living alone in a cave accessible only at low tide. With nothing to protect her from the elements, and with the fabric between herself and the world around her increasingly frayed, she is permeated by sensory experiences of remarkable intensity: the need for shade in the relentless heat of the sun-baked island; hunger and the occasional bliss of release from it; the exquisite pleasure of diving into the sea. The pressing physical realities of the moment provide a deeper relief: the euphoric obliteration of memory and, with it, the unspeakable violence she has seen and from which she has miraculously escaped.
Slowly, irrepressibly, images from a life before this violence begin to resurface: the view across lush gardens to a different sea; a gold Rolex glinting on her father’s wrist; a glass of gin in her mother’s best crystal; an adoring younger sister; a family, in the moment before their fortunes were irrevocably changed. Jacqueline must find the strength to contend with what she has survived or tip forward into full-blown madness.
Visceral and gripping, extraordinary in its depiction of physical and spiritual hungers, Alexander Maksik’s A Marker to Measure Drift is a novel about ruin and faith, barbarism and love, and the devastating memories that contain the power both to destroy us and to redeem us.
About Alexander MaksikSee more books from this Author
In any case, an undaunted Alexander Maksik has brought his skills to this very problem. His second novel, “A Marker to Measure Drift,” recounts a season of homeless exile in the life of a 24-year-old Liberian woman fleeing an episode of gruesome violence...Maksik has produced a bold book, and an instructive one.Read Full Review of A Marker to Measure Drift | See more reviews from NY Times
Fair enough; it’s a good subject. But there is somehow a sense of avoidance in Mr. Maksik’s writing, as if, much like his characters, he might find a way to answer the riddle of alienation without ever truly letting anyone else into the room.Read Full Review of A Marker to Measure Drift | See more reviews from NY Times
A mirror to Jacqueline’s psychological state, Maksik’s prose is so stripped-down and skeletal that even commas come to feel like a luxury. Though the style initially holds an austere appeal, its mantra-like repetitiveness tends to drags the novel down in its middle parts...Read Full Review of A Marker to Measure Drift | See more reviews from Toronto Star
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