So. We were Americans abroad. We weren’t the doomed travellers in a Paul Bowles novel, and we weren’t the idealists or the malarial, religion-damaged burnouts in something by Greene; but we were people far from home nevertheless. Our naivety didn’t have political consequences. We had G.P.S. in our smartphones. I don’t think we were alcoholics. Our passports were in the same drawer as our collection of international adapters, none of which seemed to fit in Brazilian wall sockets. My husband was in the chrysalis stage of becoming a rich man, and idealism was never my vice.
I was ancillary – a word that comes from the Latin for ‘having the status of a female slave’. That’s the sort of thing I know, and it tells you something about how I misspent my education. The term among expats for people like me was ‘trailing spouse’ . . .
‘Devastating, funny and wise’ Garth Greenwell
‘A triumph’ Samantha Harvey
‘A writer so gifted with language that you forget who you are in the poetry of his prose’ Uzodinma Iweala
‘Magnificent, profound, and true’ Elisa Albert
‘Reminded me in parts of Maggie Nelson. Stunning’ Sophie Mackintosh