Friday, January 29, 2021


Maxine Kaplan studied English and political science at Oberlin College and held a variety of positions in the publishing world before landing her current job as a private investigator and author. She lives and writes in Brooklyn, where she caters to the whims of her dim-witted but soulful cat.

Kaplan applied the Page 69 Test to her new novel, Wench, and reported the following:
Page 69 of Wench find our intrepid tavern maid Tanya kidnapped by thieves and confronted with the true nature of what will be one of her closest companions on her journey, Jana. Tanya is momentarily defeated, but not discouraged, and forced to work at what she does best--cooking--to get to the next stage of her journey.

Page 69 of Wench is not the most exciting moment of the book, nor does it contain any of the book's significant world-building, but as a workaday example of the obstacles on Tanya's journey, it is actually a relatively successful example of the Page 69 test. It shows how Tanya reacts to setbacks in the moment and is revealing of parts of her character and her persona. For example, the master criminal easily identifies her as a tavern wench, because "tavern maids can never not criticize someone else's cooking," revealing how Tanya appears as the archetype of a tavern wench to the people around her, but also, through the tension of her attempt to deceive the master criminal about who she is, what is driving those parts of her personality--a survival instinct and almost pathological self-reliance. The page also represents a repeating motif of the book: Tanya is pursuing he own goals and confronts a variety of individuals who would use her skills for their own gain, and see her only as a servant--literally: they see her only as how she can serve them. This is also a perception Tanya has to fight about herself--she only sees herself in terms of how she can make herself useful to survive.
Visit Maxine Kaplan's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Accidental Bad Girl.

--Marshal Zeringue