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Lecturer in Creative Writing Katie Crouch has a new novel, Embassy Wife, coming out this summer. The book will be published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. The book recently received a review in Kirkus.
Two American women uncover life-altering secrets while living abroad.
Crouch's new novel follows Persephone Wilder, a career embassy wife, and Amanda Evans, a Silicon Valley COO–turned-"Trailing Spouse," as they navigate their lives in Namibia. Persephone spends her days acting as the leader of the other embassy wives, worrying over rhinos, drinking too much, and carrying on a rivalry with Mila Shilongo, the wife of Namibia's minister of transportation. Smarter than she seems, Persephone also believes she's discovered her husband's secret: That he's a CIA agent posing as a diplomat. Uprooted from her comfortable life in California, Amanda is coming to terms with the loss of her career, her daughter's unhappiness, and the distance (and sometimes disdain) she feels for Mark, her needy husband. Mark, who lived in Namibia for a year after college, has received a Fulbright scholarship to study a holocaust that occurred there—though that's not his only reason for returning. Twenty years ago, Mark was in an accident that "shattered his leg, and everything else," and—unbeknownst to his wife— he's returned to make things right. As Persephone, Amanda, and Mila try at something like friendship, their seemingly disparate worlds begin to collide—and their lives as they know it change forever. As the novel begins to solidify and the inevitable is confirmed, Crouch throws another absurd—though not unwelcome—plot twist into the mix. One of the novel's greatest strengths is the omniscient third-person narration that oscillates focus between main and minor characters. The structure helps heighten the tension between characters, the past and the present, and Namibians and Americans. In addition to sketching complex characters with rich backstories, Crouch excels at moving the plot forward while not missing any opportunity to observe the human condition. With wit and tenderness, the novel explores the complicated nature of race, power, marriage, colonization, diplomacy, and community.
A sharp, funny, page-turning romp.