First, a confession. I had to look Namibia up on the map. That’s where Katie Crouch’s fourth novel, Embassy Wife, is set. This funny, insightful, thought-provoking romp will entertain you, inform you, and get you thinking about things you might not normally think about.
The novel follows three women—newly arrived former Silicon Valley COO Amanda Evans; Persephone, the tipsy former southern belle queen bee of the Expat crowd; and Mila, the statuesque, ebony skinned wife of the Minister of Transportation. All are what’s called “trailing spouses.” Add to the mix their respective husbands, children, and household staffs, and you’ve got quite a cast of characters. Not surprisingly, their lives intersect in surprising ways both in the present and the past.
There’s a lot of commentary on everything from the legacy of Colonialism to marriage to genocide and gem smuggling embedded in the story. One key driver of the plot: animal poaching, one rhino and one stake-out in particular. The story is told from the third person omniscient point of view, allowing the author to deftly dance between the characters.
Part satire. Part Expat story. Always surprising. You will laugh out loud at some of the references (“the Great Orange Oompa Loompa”) and find yourself quoting many of the lines, including the acronym FIGJAM (read the book to find out).
Embassy Wife by Katie Crouch. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, July 2021.
Reviewer bio: Cindy Dale has published over twenty short stories in literary journals and anthologies. She lives on a barrier beach off the coast of Long Island.
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