Usually I am drawn to a novel based on its cover or its title, but neither was the case with this one. Instead what I noticed was all the advance praise, but not from other big name authors, rather from the guys in the trenches, various and sundry independent booksellers. Comments like, “I’m haunted by the power of A Marker to Measure Drift by Alexander Maksik. Shattering, gorgeous, each sentence is a dagger to the heart,” were the prose used to praise this novel. Wow, with that kind of admiration from folks who are constantly bombarded by the next best book I could not help but be interested in this one, and I was not disappointed.
A Marker to Measure Drift by Alexander Maksik is a novel where the author loses himself completely in the creation of someone else entirely different from himself, which is a masterful accomplishment for any writer. Then on top of that the person he creates is the opposite sex, which I think is another challenge for a writer, and to do this realistically as Maksik has is to be applauded.
When you read as much as I do you need a shorthand for judging a novel and I have found that the first fifty pages usually say it all. Now, with that said, it was easy to become emotionally involved with the protagonist, Jacqueline, by page twenty-five you couldn't help but feel empathy for her suffering. Yet the pain this character has experienced and will continue to experience makes your heart ache, but yet in still, it will also keep you reading.
If my comments haven’t persuaded you to read this one let me add that this was a New York Times Notable Book and the tagline used to grab the readers attention was, “A hypnotic, spellbinding novel set in Greece and Africa, where a young Liberian woman reckons with a haunted past.” I highly recommend you travel to these exotic places and learn about Jacqueline’s past.
Thank you Net Galley and Knopf for an advance review copy of A Marker to Measure Drift by Alexander Maksik.
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