By Mia McKenzie
Maybe it’s because we’re coming out of a year of isolation, or maybe it’s because I’ve spent far too much time extremely plugged into social media, or maybe it’s simply because I’m a Gemini, but sometimes, I wake up and crave chaos. I (truly, emphatically, unconditionally) don’t want to be a part of the drama, but I do want to read about something so outrageous, so unexpected, so out of pocket, that I feel as if I am buzzing and I can’t help texting my friends to gossip about it.
How lucky I am, then, to have read Mia McKenzie’s hilarious, electric novel, “Skye Falling.”
The novel, McKenzie’s second after “The Summer We Got Free,” opens in a haze. Skye, a 38-year-old Black woman who owns a successful travel company, wakes up hung over in a bed-and-breakfast in West Philadelphia, her hometown. Next to her is a naked man she doesn’t remember. Someone is knocking on the door.
The plot cascades from there: The person knocking is Skye’s friend Viva, who owns the bed-and-breakfast, coming to tell her that they have to go to an art sale. It turns out to be a sale for Skye’s former friend, now nemesis Tasha. Skye’s brother also shows up looking to talk to Skye about their sick mother, an unwelcome appearance because Skye is estranged from her family after a traumatic childhood. Before she can escape, she is stopped by a 12-year-old girl, who tells her: “I’m Vicky. I used to be your egg” — which is to say, the child born after Skye was an egg donor for a distant friend, who has died. Around the same time as the art sale, Skye tries to pick up a woman at a record store and fails spectacularly. It would be a one-off humiliation, but, plot twist, the woman who she tried to flirt with, Skye later finds out, is Vicky’s caretaker.