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Framed, Chapter 3: Secret lovers, legal maneuvering and a fictional blueprint for 'the perfect crime'

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  • Jacqueline Woodson's 'Another Brooklyn' is a powerful adult tale of girlhood friendships

    Jacqueline Woodson's 'Another Brooklyn' is a powerful adult tale of girlhood friendships

    In 2014, Jacqueline Woodson won the National Book Award for young adult literature for an unusual book: a novel in verse, “Brown Girl Dreaming,” about a young girl moving with her family from a Southern town to New York. She returns to similar territory – this time, writing for adults -- in “Another...

  • A California dream dead-ends in Joe McGinniss Jr.'s 'Carousel Court'

    A California dream dead-ends in Joe McGinniss Jr.'s 'Carousel Court'

    Nick and Phoebe Maguire are a couple in their early 30s, newly relocated from the East Coast to Southern California, where Nick was supposed to start a promising public relations/filmmaking job while Phoebe took some much-needed time off following a car accident that injured both her and Jackson,...

  • What police are doing right (and wrong) with the homeless in downtown L.A.

    What police are doing right (and wrong) with the homeless in downtown L.A.

    On March 1, 2015, Los Angeles police officers responded to a Sunday morning call on skid row about a dispute. A homeless man called Africa (Charly Leundeu Keunang) got into a scuffle with the officers, who shot and killed him. A bystander’s video of the incident went viral and brought new attention...

  • China Mieville's 'The Last Days of New Paris' makes the surreal real

    China Mieville's 'The Last Days of New Paris' makes the surreal real

    The word “surreal” often serves as a catchall term to describe anything strange. Whether it’s used in reference to the paintings of Salvador Dali, the movies of David Lynch, or just a feeling of déjà vu, surrealism has become a cliché. But what if the world itself was surreal — if surrealism was...

  • Rikki Ducornet's 'Brightfellow' is a sophisticated embodiment of children's imagination

    Rikki Ducornet's 'Brightfellow' is a sophisticated embodiment of children's imagination

    “You cannot write for children — there’s no way,” Maurice Sendak told an interviewer in 1987. “They’re much too complicated.” Capturing the warp and woof of childhood, even in a vessel as elastic as literature, is no easy task. The best children’s books slip beneath the surreal surface of youth...

  • Women's stories, in the best way: Kirstin Allio's new collection

    Women's stories, in the best way: Kirstin Allio's new collection

    There are many ways to write about women, but the argument could be made that almost any novel or story written by a woman is somehow about women, as if that theme automatically applies by dint of the fiction’s connection to its writer. But that would be a simplistic reading and would likely frustrate...

  • Suburban alienation meets aliens in Margaret Wappler's 'Neon Green'

    Suburban alienation meets aliens in Margaret Wappler's 'Neon Green'

    Novels can be analyzed in all sorts of ways, but a few iron laws of interpretation apply. One: Every novel set in the suburbs must be a commentary on suburbia. No writer can imagine a leafy bedroom community without riffing on conformity, hypocrisy and upper-middle-class entitlement. Two: Every...

  • North to Alaska in Dave Eggers' new 'Heroes of the Frontier'

    North to Alaska in Dave Eggers' new 'Heroes of the Frontier'

    Among his bestselling literary fiction peers, Dave Eggers alone is engaged in a sustained effort to write about contemporary America. He’s been going at it so regularly, and so swiftly, that he’s keeping pace with the times, if not getting a half-step ahead. Perhaps he knows what’s next for us:...

  • Jeff VanderMeer on the beauty and weirdness of Florida

    Jeff VanderMeer on the beauty and weirdness of Florida

    In Tallahassee in the mid-1990s I once tried to save a huge snapping turtle before a car could hit it — in the middle of a raging thunderstorm — only to wind up desperately hanging onto its shell for dear life so I wouldn’t get bit while people slowly drove past looking at me like I was crazy....

  • Theodore Roosevelt whipped up a frenzy of populism in 1912. We're still living with the consequences.

    Theodore Roosevelt whipped up a frenzy of populism in 1912. We're still living with the consequences.

    In the name of presidential ambition, is anything off-limits? If the recent primary season is any indication, the answer is a disheartening no. Both entertainment and embarrassment, the tweets, accusations, proclamations and insults revealed a level of bad craziness that just might make Hunter...

  • Jonah Lehrer returns with 'A Book About Love.' Can it rescue his reputation?

    Jonah Lehrer returns with 'A Book About Love.' Can it rescue his reputation?

    What do we want from the disgraced among us? Atonement, or at least an accounting, and perhaps some sense they’ve learned from their mistakes. No meticulous mea culpa is on offer from Jonah Lehrer in “A Book About Love,” his first title since the last was hurriedly withdrawn. Instead of an apology,...

  • Donald Ray Pollock's 'The Heavenly Table' is brutal American Gothic literature

    Donald Ray Pollock's 'The Heavenly Table' is brutal American Gothic literature

    There are few living novelists with a stronger point of view than Donald Ray Pollock. After working 32 years in a paper mill in Chillicothe, Ohio, Pollock got his MFA in his 50s and in 2008 published “Knockemstiff,” a harrowing collection of short stories named for his hometown in southern Ohio....

  • The innovative, beguiling reflections of Claire-Louise Bennett's 'Pond'

    The innovative, beguiling reflections of Claire-Louise Bennett's 'Pond'

    If your idea of a great read requires a rousing plot line, Claire-Louise Bennett’s “Pond” probably isn’t going to float your boat. But if you’re excited by the kind of writing that can transport you deep into the oddly beguiling, meditative reflections of a woman living alone in a thatched-roof,...

  • An Italian vacation is not what two couples hoped in Delia Ephron's 'Siracusa'

    An Italian vacation is not what two couples hoped in Delia Ephron's 'Siracusa'

    “This is not a true story,” Delia Ephron insists in the acknowledgments section of her novel “Siracusa.”  “All characters and circumstances are fictional.” Why this cautionary note? Perhaps Ephron – whose late sister Nora Ephron famously skewered her ex-husband, the journalist Carl Bernstein, in...

  • Gay Talese's book 'The Voyeur's Motel' got the author in hot water. But is it any good?

    Gay Talese's book 'The Voyeur's Motel' got the author in hot water. But is it any good?

    What happens to a book when the news about it — the side story — begins to overwhelm the sentences and paragraphs? That’s one of the dilemmas around Gay Talese’s “The Voyeur’s Motel,” which the author briefly disavowed recently after the Washington Post uncovered discrepancies in its chronology.  ...

  • Solmaz Sharif and the poetics of a new American generation

    Solmaz Sharif and the poetics of a new American generation

    Step gently on words such as “home” or “citizen” or even “body” with a foot born elsewhere and they combust. Place names are even more incendiary. What happens when we read BEIRUT or TEHRAN or SAIGON while sitting at a cafe in Santa Monica?  This is war’s lexicon. It incorporates and redefines,...

  • 6 things you should know about 'The City of Mirrors'

    6 things you should know about 'The City of Mirrors'

    1. It’s huge. “The City of Mirrors” debuted at the top of our Bestseller list earlier this month. The book is the conclusion to Justin Cronin’s bestselling dystopian literary trilogy, which started with “The Passage” (great) followed by “The Twelve” (not as great). 2. It’s binge-worthy. With a...

  • Emma Cline's 'The Girls' is a gorgeous, disquieting spin on Manson family dynamics

    Emma Cline's 'The Girls' is a gorgeous, disquieting spin on Manson family dynamics

    “I was a daisy-fresh girl and look what you've done to me.” ― Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita   “The Girls” is gorgeous, disquieting, and really, really good. Set mostly in the Bay Area at the tail end of the 1960s, the novel follows Evie Boyd through the “endless, formless summer” before she goes off...

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