Literary Review on FEAST DAYS by Ian MacKenzie

Stephen Cox published a wonderful piece on FEAST DAYS in the new issue of the Literary Review (UK).

He writes: “Impressive . . . For a slim novel, it is notable how many big themes MacKenzie touches on; more notable still are the wit, incision and levity with which he considers globalisation, inequality, gender and class . . . Furthermore, it is not altogether common for male authors to create insightful, believable female protagonists; the fact that MacKenzie does so seemingly effortlessly is another of the book’s triumphs. FEAST DAYS is as funny, interesting and wide-ranging a novel as you will read this year.”

Review in The Guardian by Ian MacKenzie

There's an extremely kind review of FEAST DAYS from Daisy Johnson in the Guardian this weekend, here. And my "Top 10 books about Americans abroad" feature is also up on the Guardian's site, here.

Johnson calls FEAST DAYS "an expansive book tangling big ideas on class and race, marriage and politics . . . one cannot help but read on."

She says: "Ian MacKenzie writes about cities with the same verve and vigour as Salman Rushdie and Zadie Smith. Reading his books, it does not seem that he loves cities - rather, that he is compelled by them: their dirtiness, their contrasts, their hidden edges. . . . There is also a delight in words that is wonderful to read, a delicious speed to the prose. FEAST DAYS is not a thriller, but reads a little like one, moving swiftly from one kind of experience to the next with brutal, dazzling effect."



Feast Days Now Available in the U.K. by Ian MacKenzie

FEAST DAYS is now available in the U.K. from Fourth Estate, and the Irish Times published a wonderful review of the novel, here.

Sarah Gilmartin writes that FEAST DAYS is "one of the most convincing female voices this reviewer has come across . . . there is a tension that anything could happen, that snap decisions have life-altering repercussions. In a way that recalls the female protagonists of authors such as Lisa Owen and Jenny Offill, MacKenzie’s Emma bears the hallmark of a writerly mind – acute awareness and the necessary detachment to set it on the page. FEAST DAYS is a sophisticated and astute story of expatriate life told from a truly convincing, captivating female voice."

Interview with Elisa Albert at The Millions by Ian MacKenzie

There's an interview I did with the amazing Elisa Albert up today at The Millions:

TM: Tell me what you’re reading, what you’ve been reading for the past few years, what fed into Feast Days, and what your head is in these days?

IM:  Feast Days has two presiding spirits: Elizabeth Bishop and Joan Didion. Both of them are referred to in the course of the novel. Elizabeth Bishop, beyond what her poems mean to me, is inextricably bound up with the idea of the expatriate in Brazil. You can’t think of Brazil and not think of her. Didion is a more global sort of influence for me, the rotating blades of her sentences, the reach of her eye, her precise sense of the dangers of exporting Americans to far-flung locales. She puts her finger on things. Elizabeth Hardwick, in particular her masterpiece Sleepless Nights, gave me a feeling early on for the possibilities of attrition in prose, for what a slim book can do. Perhaps no writer is more significant to me than James Salter. The title Feast Days is meant as a nod toward Light Years, and also Salter’s memoir, Burning the DaysGraham Greene is another influence buried deep in the substrata of my sense of self as a writer. He’s named in the book, too. I suppose that’s to say I wear this stuff on my sleeve.

You can read the entire interview here.

New York Times Book Review by Ian MacKenzie

FEAST DAYS received a great review, online now, in the forthcoming Sunday issue of the New York Times Book Review

From Andrew Ervin's review:

"The novel of the ugly American living abroad has bloomed into a genre all its own, one I happen to devour with relish. Among my favorites are Charles Portis's Gringos, Ben Lerner's Leaving the Atocha Station, and Nell Zink's The Wallcreeper. Ian MacKenzie's second novel arrives as a worthy addition to that list. . . . Expatriate novels often reveal far more about their characters' homelands than they do about their presumably exotic destinations. FEAST DAYS does likewise."

You can read the entire review here.

Review in the San Francisco Chronicle by Ian MacKenzie

The San Francisco Chronicle has an excellent review of FEAST DAYS this weekend. 

From Chris Feliciano Arnold's review:

"Ian MacKenzie's elegant second novel, FEAST DAYS, is a story about love and power, luxury and empire, set in one of the most socially stratified countries on the planet. . . . MacKenzie's economy is remarkable. Using thin brushstrokes, inventive turns of phrase, and fragmentary, dialogue-heavy sections, he deftly captures how an outsider is only able to comprehend a country in pieces, assembling an incomplete puzzle over time. What holds this portrait of a marriage together, across time and across continents, is Emma's voice. Wry and melancholy, she is a sensitive weather vane to the changing winds of her own relationships, and to the storm brewing in a country that she wants desperately to make sense of . . . MacKenzie's novel feels heavier than many novels twice its weight . . . FEAST DAYS is as much about America as it is about Brazil."

You can read the entire review here.

There are also kind mentions of FEAST DAYS in the Opal Club's March Books We Read (here) and DC Refined's 10 Great Books to Devour This Spring (here).