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Magnus Mills' 'Maintenance of Headway' a satire of bureaucracy

Partway through Magnus Mills' "The Maintenance of Headway," the narrator, a bus driver in a city that must be London, is stuck on a crowded road behind a truck with a warning reading, "If you can't see my mirrors I can't see you." Bored and frustrated, the driver starts to frame a song. "If you...

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  • Ghosts emerge in Vivian Gornick's memoir 'The Odd Woman and the City'

    Ghosts emerge in Vivian Gornick's memoir 'The Odd Woman and the City'

    Vivian Gornick's "The Odd Woman and the City" is a book of ghosts. Ghosts of the past; ghosts of New York, which is for her both home and character; ghosts of a lifetime of reading, intentional and covert. These ghosts emerge when Gornick least expects it or are invoked directly in the text.

  • Christopher Bollen's 'Orient' a literary thriller with wit and style

    Christopher Bollen's 'Orient' a literary thriller with wit and style

    Christopher Bollen's "Orient" might well be this summer's most ambitious thriller or this summer's most thrilling work of literary fiction. An editor at large for Interview with style and wit to spare, Bollen sets his juicy mystery at the tip of Long Island at summer's end, when the season's fleeting...

  • Eric Bogosian's 'Operation Nemesis' chases Turkish perpetrators

    Eric Bogosian's 'Operation Nemesis' chases Turkish perpetrators

    What if Hitler and the other architects of the Holocaust had escaped Germany after WWII, never to be punished for their crimes?

  • 'LAtitudes' navigates the histories and cultures of L.A.

    'LAtitudes' navigates the histories and cultures of L.A.

    To drive in the Los Angeles of the 1980s invariably meant relying on a Thomas Guide map-book at some point. Whether tucked neatly into a glove compartment or, more likely, tossed atop snack crumbs and loose change on the floor, the spiral-bound Thomas Guides fractured the city into hundreds of...

  • Mark Z. Danielewski's 'Familiar' a monument to semantic encryption

    Mark Z. Danielewski's 'Familiar' a monument to semantic encryption

    Mark Z. Danielewski's newest novel, reportedly the first volume of many, is an 880-page tome that, through some curious printer's alchemy, feels even heavier than even this surfeit of pages would seem to warrant — as though a leaden object had been secreted craftily within its spine. And that wouldn't...

  • Beware the infectious beasts of 'The Blondes'

    Beware the infectious beasts of 'The Blondes'

    In the 1970s and '80s, genre books and literary fiction were sharply divided, kept in separate sections of bookstores and libraries. Those divisions have faded into the past, however, thanks to readers who enjoy both and authors who write right through them.

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