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Look Inside. Dec 29, ISBN Jan 13, ISBN With his teaching career derailed by tragedy and his slacker days numbered, Webster Fillmore Goodhue makes an unlikely move and joins Clean Team, charged with tidying up L. Is it something to do with what he cleaned up in that motel room in Carson? Or is it all about the brewing war between rival trauma cleaners? And again. He lives with his family… More about Charlie Huston. Mystic Arts is, however, fiercely original—very much its own thing.


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And Mr. Huston, whose own brain matter is as much on display as the stuff that gets spattered here, finally delivers a book that anyone can admire. No strong stomach required. If you believe that the world is mad—a position that with each passing day becomes easier to accept— The Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death will provide welcome support for your view.

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Life is violent, messy and all too short, and laughter is the best revenge. Web is a likeable character in spite of his personality disorder, one that the reader wants to see come out on top, which makes the book that much more fun to read. Searching for a measure of healing and to repair the damage done them by their parents and the world, the good characters struggle toward redemption. Just take a bath afterward, and remember to scrub out the tub. How did you come up with it? It is a line from the book, but it was my editor who suggested it as the title.

Also a line from the book, but it was my wife who suggested it would make a good title. Q : The action takes place in the messy world of crime-scene cleanup in Los Angeles: a world I never thought about too much before reading this book. What made you realize this milieu was a rich one for a novel, and how up close and personal was your research? It hooked me and I started looking at websites for various trauma cleaners and a handful of news stories. I did no hands-on research, just had a couple conversations with some professionals in the field. Just a fucking mess. The kind of guy you like hanging out with most of the time, until he starts getting into his dick mood.

You know that guy. Funny as hell, always has something interesting to say, and all of a sudden he gets all dicky. And he should know better. Partly that was because the title has a Zen-like sound to it, but even more I think it was from the way you fuse the tawdry backdrop of LA with the gritty nobility of characters like Po Sin, Gabe, and even Web himself.

This mix of the seedy and sublime is also present in your other novels—why is this such a distinctive aspect of your work? CH : I know that scene. I can picture it in my head. And maybe that suggests why you thought of Rockford when you read Mystic Arts. Not only am I a huge Rockford File fan, but my original concept for Web and this book was to do something in a Rockford style.

Szalay writes with voluptuous authority about masculinity under duress in this novel in stories. By Jacqueline Woodson. By Karan Mahajan. By Annie Proulx. By Noah Hawley. By Imbolo Mbue. By Louise Doughty. Expecting to be assassinated, the hero of this excellent novel grapples with guilt over his actions in Indonesia. By Alexander Weinstein. The terror that technology may rob us of authentic experience — that it may annihilate our very sense of self — is central to this debut collection of short stories.

By Adrienne Rich. By Ann Patchett. An engaging family portrait, tracing the lives of six stepsiblings over half a century. By Madeleine Thien. By Boris Fishman. A family from the former Soviet Union embarks on an American road trip in a novel that is a joy to read. By Stephen King. By Richard Russo. By Peter Ho Davies. This novel, a meditation on years of the Chinese-American experience, asks what it means to be a Chinese-American.

By Jonathan Lethem.

A backgammon hustler with telepathic powers returns to Berkeley, Calif. By Melanie Finn. By Max Porter. A father and his sons struggle with a death in this luminous novel. By Nicole Dennis-Benn. By Jonathan Safran Foer. By Yaa Gyasi. This wonderful debut by a Ghanaian-American novelist follows the shifting fortunes of the progeny of two half sisters, unknown to each other, in West Africa and America.

By Deborah Levy. By Ishion Hutchinson. By Eileen Myles.

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Charming and confounding poems from a provocative voice. By Magda Szabo. Translated by George Szirtes. By Louise Erdrich. By David Constantine. LOOK: Poems. By Solmaz Sharif. By Martin Seay.

Half the Blood of Brooklyn: A Novel (Joe Pitt Casebooks)

Linked narratives and various Venices reflect one another in this clever first novel. By Affinity Konar. Konar uses the unsettling and grievous history of Dr. By Francine Prose. By Michael Chabon. In this beautifully written hybrid, a San Francisco writer named Mike presents a memoir about his grandparents, a World War II soldier and a Holocaust survivor.

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By Derek Palacio. This sweeping debut novel limns the exile and return of a Cuban-American family. By Elizabeth Strout. By Joy Williams. This collection of micro-fictions is a treasure trove of tiny wry masterpieces. By Nathan Hill. In this entertaining debut novel, full of postmodern digressions, a young professor tries to write a biography of his political activist mother. By Ian McGuire. By Ian McEwan. Nan A. Translated by Anne McLean. A slender but impactful Colombian novel about a political cartoonist who re-examines his accusations against a politician.

Three Kentucky dynasties — black, white and equine — converge in this vitally written if melodramatic novel. By Lara Vapnyar. In this razor-funny novel, four Russian friends try to make their way in New York. By Zadie Smith. By Maria Semple. By Colson Whitehead. By Sabina Murray. An audacious historical novel about the Irish revolutionary martyr Roger Casement.

By Han Kang.

Skyfire Cycle

Translated by Deborah Smith. This novella in three parts is both thriller and parable. The winner of the Man Booker International Prize.

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By Stefan Hertmans. Translated by David McKay. By Lucy Wood. This poetic debut novel, set in a damp house near a roaring river, explores the relationship between mothers and daughters. ZERO K. By Don DeLillo. By Rebecca Traister. A deeply researched and thought-provoking examination of the role of single women throughout history.

By Jeffrey Toobin. In this riveting account, even the S. By Sarah Bakewell. A lucid joint portrait of the writers and philosophers who embodied existentialism. By Patrick Phillips. How a Georgia county drove out its black citizens in and remained all-white for 80 years: a well-written, timely and important account.