Meet Persephone Wilder, a displaced genius posing as the wife of an American diplomat in Namibia. She suspects her husband is not actually the ambassador's legal counsel, but a secret agent in the CIA. The consummate embassy wife, she takes the newest trailing spouse, Amanda Evans, under her wing. But once they're settled in the sub-Saharan desert, Amanda sees clearly that her husband Mark, who lived in Namibia two decades earlier, had other reasons for returning.
[A] sharply observed satire of the white-savior complex and the poisonous legacy of colonialism ... Crouch too remains an outsider, and [...] her novel is less about Namibia and more about how foreigners inscribe themselves upon it ... The antics are fun to watch [...] — like observing an accident in which you were not involved. If only it were not quite so easy to recoil from these characters, to pretend that their blinders are unlike our own.
With a lot of overlap, it’s hard to say what’s comical and what’s in earnest — but there’s enough of both to keep a reader happily engaged, and, because the author has lived in Namibia, there are plenty of probably true facts to savor about the landscape and quirks of language and expat behavior. That is to say, here’s the disclaimer the novel should have come with: Don’t take this book too seriously, and it will entertain you, seriously.
... a devilishly au courant satire that skewers white privilege and colonialism ... Mila, a Namibian, has the most crooked husband—and the hottest takes on American exceptionalism. As everyone's dirty laundry gets hung out to dry, it's hard to remember why we'd want it clean in the first place.