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A Marker to Measure Drift
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Published:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group 2013
Status:
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Description

Now The Major Motion Picture DRIFT Starring Cynthia Erivo and Alia Shawkat • A New York Times Notable Book •  Hypnotic in its depiction of physical and spiritual hungers, this is a novel about ruin, faith, and the devastating memories that can destroy and redeem us. 
“Immensely powerful. . . . Beautifully written. . . . Jacqueline is a mesmerizing heroine.” —The Boston Globe

In the aftermath of Charles Taylor’s fallen regime, a young Liberian woman named Jacqueline has fled to the Aegean island of Santorini. She lives in a cave accessible only at low tide. During the day, she offers massages to tourists, battling her hunger one or two euros at a time. Her pressing physical needs provide a deeper relief, obliterating her memories of unspeakable violence. But slowly, the specters of her former life resurface: her adoring younger sister; her unshakably proper mother; her father, who believed in his president; her journalist lover, who knew that Taylor would be overthrown. Now Jacqueline must face the ghosts that haunt her—or tip into full-blown madness.

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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
07/30/2013
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780307962584
ASIN:
B00BABT9Z0

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Citations

APA Citation (style guide)

Alexander Maksik. (2013). A Marker to Measure Drift. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Alexander Maksik. 2013. A Marker to Measure Drift. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Alexander Maksik, A Marker to Measure Drift. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 2013.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Alexander Maksik. A Marker to Measure Drift. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 2013.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2022. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.

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Date Added:
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Date Updated:
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        Alexander Maksik is the author of the novel You Deserve Nothing and a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. His writing has appeared in The Best American Nonrequired Reading, Harper’s, Tin House, Harvard Review, The New York Times Magazine, Salon, and Narrative Magazine, among other publications, and has been translated into more than a dozen languages. He lives in New York City.

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fullDescription
Now The Major Motion Picture DRIFT Starring Cynthia Erivo and Alia Shawkat • A New York Times Notable Book •  Hypnotic in its depiction of physical and spiritual hungers, this is a novel about ruin, faith, and the devastating memories that can destroy and redeem us. 
“Immensely powerful. . . . Beautifully written. . . . Jacqueline is a mesmerizing heroine.” —The Boston Globe

In the aftermath of Charles Taylor’s fallen regime, a young Liberian woman named Jacqueline has fled to the Aegean island of Santorini. She lives in a cave accessible only at low tide. During the day, she offers massages to tourists, battling her hunger one or two euros at a time. Her pressing physical needs provide a deeper relief, obliterating her memories of unspeakable violence. But slowly, the specters of her former life resurface: her adoring younger sister; her unshakably proper mother; her father, who believed in his president; her journalist lover, who knew that Taylor would be overthrown. Now Jacqueline must face the ghosts that haunt her—or tip into full-blown madness.
reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: The New York Times
      • content: "Bold . . . Undaunted . . . Maksik writes, credibly, across the boundaries of gender and race . . . A study of scarred consciousness struggling to come to terms with the violence done to it in a moment of cataclysmic horror . . . The sustained representation of Jacqueline's search for release, for haven, has moments of bleak poetry . . . Maksik has illuminated for us, with force and art, an all too common species of suffering--grievous, ugly, and, unfortunately, a perennial."
      • premium: False
      • source: The Boston Globe
      • content: "Immensely powerful . . . Beautifully written . . . Jacqueline is a mesmerizing heroine . . . She is alive on the page from the outset, and with each paragraph she deepens, grows more complicated. Clearer and yet more mysterious . . . Maksik brings Jacqueline's tale to a devastating finale . . . giving her quest an awful and moving dignity."
      • premium: False
      • source: The San Francisco Chronicle
      • content: "It will leave you breathless and speechless; it will send you reeling."
      • premium: False
      • source: Guernica
      • content: "A masterpiece . . . Maksik manages to accomplish in Marker something next to no one has managed to do, namely, to strip the world down to naked life, life in all its glory and all its agony and terror, and death . . . Maksik's prose floats weightlessly and then falls like a fist on the table." --The Buenos Aires Review "Assured, intent . . . Through a catalogue of sensations, Maksik charts the cruelty and the hope of Jacqueline's new life, while slowly approaching the horrors of her past . . . Maksik's world is reaching out to touch. The task he's set for himself is to record the impression of that touch, be it caress or jab."
      • premium: False
      • source: The Atlantic
      • content: "The starving body, as it turns to its own fat and tissue for energy, enters a state called ketosis; Maksik's lean, affecting prose burns this way--stripped of any excess, entirely attuned to the prospect of survival, beautifying the simple things that sustain life."
      • premium: False
      • source: Harper's
      • content: "Haunting and sensual, Maksik's prose deftly intertwines the tenderness and torment of memory with the hard reality of searching for sustenance and shelter."
      • premium: False
      • source: The Millions
      • content: "Stark and essential . . . With A Marker to Measure Drift, Alexander Maksik's deep belief proves warranted: he has succeeded."
      • premium: False
      • source: The Coffin Factory
      • content: "A deeply invested character exploration of a young woman who is undergoing a transition to a life of alienation, whose memories are just beginning to operate with a newly installed consciousness of past events . . . Glimmers with reflection and lyricism."
      • premium: False
      • source: Kirkus
      • content: "Beautifully written . . . Through an impressionistic stream of consciousness, Maksik slowly reveals Jacqueline's ordeal . . . A novel that measures the ripple effect of trauma and violence." --The Daily Beast, "Hot Reads" "Small events--a coffee, a gyro--take on monumental significance, and Maksik is deft and patient as he teases out Jacqueline's recovery . . . In creating a well-drawn character so far removed from his own life, Maksik has written a novel that stands solidly on its own merits." --Portland Mercury "Remarkable . . . Conjures the horror of war almost entirely without describing its events . . . As the novel unspools it becomes clear that the truth is far more complicated and heartbreaking than it first appears . . . Deeply compelling."
      • premium: False
      • source: Chicago Center for Literature and Photography
      • content: "Maksik has wonderful instincts for delivering just enough insight into Jacqueline's character to keep us turning the pages. He manages to raise the stakes to the highest possible level without blinking . . . Marker is a book where the 'big questions' are stripped to their essential core: What is necessary to sustain life? The answers Maksik leads us to are touching, and the book ends on a hopeful note. Rating: 9/10"
      • premium: False
      • source: Idaho Mountain Express
      • content: "A story about a woman coping--a woman reconciling her newly manufactured life with her reality . . . Resonates on many levels: the impermanence of life, the perils of solitude, the futility of running from the past . . . Explores where memory and madness collide."
      • premium: False
      • source: Winnipeg Free Press
      • content: "Luminous . . . Maksik is both deft and lyrical, a master of tense--his shifts from past to present and back aga
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        April 29, 2013
        Set amid the surf and hillside villages of a small Greek island, Maksik’s second novel (after You Deserve Nothing) follows new arrival Jacqueline, a Liberian woman near 20 years of age with a veiled, mysterious past. Homeless, starving, and trapped within the serene beauty of her new surroundings, she searches for shelter, taking refuge in a cave and offering massages to sunbathers for spare Euros. She is troubled by hallucinations of her mother and government employee father, but has sweet memories of her former lover, Bernard, and her younger sister, Saifa. Throughout, Jacqueline finds it difficult “to distinguish between what was happening and what had happened.” Paranoia makes her resistant to building personal connections and she moves from one location to the next on a journey that is deliberately paced and repetitive. Jacqueline’s psychological state is marked by emptiness and conflict; acceptance of charity sparks guilt, rare indulgences turn into painful stomachaches, and a series of unfinished spaces become briefly inhabited homes. Though the drawn-out mystery of this unanchored woman’s past may frustrate those in need of a more dynamic narrative, patient readers will be rewarded by Maksik’s gorgeous and evocative prose. Agent: Eric Simonoff, WME Entertainment.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        May 15, 2013
        A 23-year-old refugee from Liberia tries to escape the horrors of her past on the island of Santorini. Jacqueline arrives in Santorini with a backpack, the clothes on her back and no money. We slowly learn the details of her life through a series of flashbacks to her home and affair with a French journalist as well as through imagined conversations with her mother, a religious woman who believes in equal measure in two contradictory ideas: that everything is "God's will" and that "We pay for our sins, for the sins of others....Anyway, we can't understand." At first, Jacqueline finds a cave in which to spend her nights, and she supports herself by giving foot massages to the tourists on the beaches. This helps her make a subsistence living, though much of the time she's still uncomfortably close to starvation. She develops a routine in her living, catching showers surreptitiously and then eventually sleeping in an abandoned hotel. She also befriends Katarina, a waitress at a local cafe, who provides her food and friendship, for both women are lonely and in need of companionship. Through memory and conversation, Jacqueline's story finally comes out. While her mother had always looked for meaning through religious consolation, her father, Liberia's finance minister and a believer in the government of Charles Taylor, was simultaneously more political and more cynical. Jacqueline also has strong memories of her pregnant younger sister, Saifa. At the end of the novel, Jacqueline feels comfortable enough with Katarina to open up about the terrifying circumstances that led to her leaving Liberia. A moving, deeply felt and lyrical novel about past and present.

        COPYRIGHT(2013) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        March 1, 2013

        Maksik follows up a successful trade paperback original, You Deserve Nothing, with an in-house favorite featuring a Liberian woman named Jacqueline, who's trying to forget untold horrors while living homeless on a Greek island. Intense reading; with a multicity tour, a reading group guide, and library marketing.

        Copyright 2013 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        June 15, 2013

        Civil war leaves a young Liberian woman named Jacqueline homeless and deprived of her privilege as the daughter of one of African warlord Charles Taylor's ministers. Drifting between memories that look very much like madness and wary resourcefulness, she wanders among the tourists and vacationers on a Greek island in self-imposed exile, distracting herself from the thoughts of her catastrophic loss. Her world is reduced to locating food, water, and shelter; acts of kindness from strangers keep her going, while her memories threaten to undo her. After his praised novel You Deserve Nothing, Maksik returns with a vivid depiction of disillusionment, shock, and resilience following a civil war that killed more than 150,000 people and dispersed refugees like Jacqueline throughout the region. VERDICT A work that sheds light on a setting great in both its beauty and violence. Without being at all imitative, this title may remind readers of Chris Cleave's Little Bee in craft and the exploration of terrible brutality and the effort it takes to survive. [See Prepub Alert, 2/4/13].--Gwen Vredevoogd, Marymount Univ. Libs., Marshall, VA

        Copyright 2013 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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Now The Major Motion Picture DRIFT Starring Cynthia Erivo and Alia Shawkat • A New York Times Notable Book •  Hypnotic in its depiction of physical and spiritual hungers, this is a novel about ruin, faith, and the devastating memories that can destroy and redeem us. 
“Immensely powerful. . . . Beautifully written. . . . Jacqueline is a mesmerizing heroine.” —The Boston Globe

In the aftermath of Charles Taylor’s fallen regime, a young Liberian woman named Jacqueline has fled to the Aegean island of Santorini. She lives in a cave accessible only at low tide. During the day, she offers massages to tourists, battling her hunger one or two euros at a time. Her pressing physical needs provide a deeper relief, obliterating her memories of unspeakable violence. But slowly, the specters of her former life resurface: her adoring younger sister; her unshakably proper mother; her father, who believed in...
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