The President Shop is a marvelous, timeless book that sweeps between the personal and the panoramic as it asks, Does every family, or country, contain an axis, around which the rest of it spins? Can you hear the voice of a stone? How clearly can anyone see the past or future? For which tyrannies have we been unwittingly waving flags?
Catherine Lacey, author of Pew and Certain American States
The President, the founder of the Nation, is an old man now, but his young and unifying spirit stands steadfastly at the heart of The President Shop, Vesna Maric’s debut novel. Images of and tributes to the President are found in all homes in the Nation, procured from stores like the one Ruben and Rosa Maric run. The couple met as Partisans, fighting to forge the Nation in the crucible of conflict. But even though their pride shines as brightly as the gilded bust of the President, the younger generation has questioned whether the Nation really has its citizens’ best interests in mind. Ruben’s brother is actively working to avoid mandatory military service as he pines away for another man, and Ruben and Rosa’s daughter, Mona, is too busy adjusting to womanhood to get caught up in state-mandated nostalgia. To further exacerbate the family tension, an elderly uncle claims to have invented a machine to see into the future, which he stores in the basement of the family’s apartment building. But there is no telling what the future really holds in store as the beliefs of the past slowly start to crumble.