Paris. Tokyo. Shanghai. Seoul. Em’s Awful Good Fortune is part global romp, part dysfunctional marriage. Em is not simply married—it’s more like she’s handcuffed to her husband’s international career. Sure, they might be velvet cuffs, but still … cuffed. What else can she do but stomp her way through global capitals in search of her own identity?
Part dysfunctional marriage, part global romp, this is not your typical expat story. Em’s Awful Good Fortune is a deeply personal, marriage coming-apart-at-the-seams look at the struggle between a woman’s desire for partnership and her need for identity. Fueled by twin demons, love and rage, Em stomps her way around the world coming to terms with the fantasy of having it all: husband, kids, and a career. Em is not just married; it’s more like being handcuffed to her husband’s international career. Her life reads like a fantasy, bouncing between Los Angeles, Paris, Tokyo, Shanghai, and Seoul. But—the good fortune is all her husband’s: Em is just the tagalong wife.
Maxfield’s compelling, non-linear story explores the expatriate lifestyle through the lens of a crumbling marriage, while at the same time tracing the lasting impact of sexual assault and PTSD. Em’s journey exposes the dark corners of this seemingly privileged world: loneliness, depression, infidelity, and loss of career. An empowering, uncomfortably funny narrative about compromise that every woman should read. As Em begins to value her needs before those of her husband’s career, she stops letting herself be dragged along for the ride—and ultimately emerges triumphant.
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“Em’s Awful Good Fortune takes its reader across the world and deep into the heart of its trapped, privileged, suffering, and, ultimately, invincible narrator. Equally funny and brutal, this novel breathes vivid life into a much maligned and little understood ‘type’—the expat wife. Maxfield poured her heart into the writing, and it shows: the pages crackle.”
Junot Diaz, Pulitzer Prize–winning author