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Ned Beauman's Crazed Colonial Adventure, 'Madness Is Better Than Defeat', Gets Lost in the Weeds

Like Pynchon, Beauman wrings paranoia and gags from a dark confluence of American state and corporate power, yet unlike Pynchon, Beauman only seems interested in mining the material for superficial laughs.


Shaking the Foundations of the Novel in 'Lacking Character'

Curtis White gives a hilarious display of creative destruction.


'The Maze at Windermere's Five Interweaving Stories of Love Fighting Social Boundaries

The overarching theme is of a tactical approach to love and romance; the protagonists must all negotiate social restrictions, in varying degrees of good faith, to achieve their goals.


Probing the Unfathomable in Samantha Hunt's 'The Dark Dark'

Hunt turns the domestic inside out to find the supernatural lurking within.


Designing Desire in 'Made for Love'

Alissa Nutting takes readers on a wild ride through the murky waters of love and Florida.


The Grid Beneath the Grid in Joshua Cohen's 'Moving Kings'

A visceral, intelligent look at the economy of evictions in New York's outer boroughs.


'The Violins of Saint-Jacques' Is a Lush Portrait of a Lost World

This only novel from Patrick Leigh Fermor, a master of travel writing, is a culturally astute depiction of a Caribbean island's lavish, last Mardi Gras.


Does It Take a Superhero to Understand One's Own Mind?

In A Little More Human, Fiona Maazel provides a madcap conspiracy involving high-tech medicine and the stranger within.


My Life May Be a Mess, But 'Wait Till You See Me Dance'

In this excellent volume of stories, Deb Olin Unferth uses a slippery sense of perspective to stoke empathy for characters acting out.

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