Vancouver Minute: The Hockey Team Wears Heels

U.S. Women's hockey team members tell TIME what fashions they wear to accessorize their team jerseys. And they all wear heels


ously said in the show's first season, ''Any mean thing someone's going to think of to say about me I've already said to me, about me, probably in the last half hour.'' Like Hannah, she is a compulsive oversharer and wearer of crop tops, a confessed neurotic endlessly consumed with the minutiae of her life and her place in the universe. (Hint: It's the center.) But she is also funnier and warmer and generally wiser. In the book's introduction she confesses, ''No, I am not a sexpert, a psychologist, or a dietician. I am not a mother of three or the owner of a successful hosiery franchise. But I am a girl with a keen interest in having it all, and what follows are hopeful dispatches from the frontline of that struggle.''

Thus begins a narrative loosely organized around larger themes like Love & Sex and Friendship, but guided mostly by a Woody-Allen-with-a-uterus kind of whimsy. There are lists (''My Top 10 Health Concerns,'' ''18 Unlikely Things I've Said Flirtatiously'') and multiple accounts of childhood phobias, misguided romances, and unhinged carbohydrate consumption. You will find out what ''tonsil stones'' are and learn far more about her vagina than you have ever known of any other genitalia, including your own. Not That Kind's tone is droll and confiding and casually glib, though not always: A chapter on encounters with a certain kind of middle-aged man in the entertainment industry—her friend calls them ''Sunshine Stealers''—feels raw and devastatingly real. It's hard not to wish for more of those stories; not the ones that say ''I'm just like you!'' but ones that tell us more about how she became someone singular: a young woman whose work and words have put her at the center of a major pop culture conversation. But Dunham is not that kind of girl—at least not yet. B+

]]> NOT THAT KIND OF GIRL Lena Dunham]]> EW.com-20855920 <![CDATA[Belzhar]]> Wed, 24 Sep 2014 15:00:00 EDT If Meg Wolitzer were trying to dip into the YA world for an easy cash grab, she wouldn't have chosen such a nerdy literary topic. The author of the acclaimed 2013 epic The Interestings sets her teen novel at the Wooden Barn, a therapeutic boarding school in rustic Vermont meant for ''emotionally fragile, highly intelligent'' high schoolers. When Jam Gallahue moves into her dorm, she's still reeling from the death of her first love, Reeve. So she doesn't much care that she's been handpicked to enroll in an exclusive, mysterious lit seminar called Special Topics in English, which focuses on the works of poet-novelist Sylvia Plath. As Jam and her four classmates — who have also endured tragedies — delve into a semester-long journaling assignment, they're transported to a hallucinatory alternate reality (dubbed ''Belzhar,'' a nod to Plath's classic The Bell Jar) in which their pre-trauma lives are restored. The allure of that false reality is overpowering, but the lesson lies in the courage to leave it behind. Wolitzer melds the power of confessional writing, Plath's legacy, and the internal worlds of teenagers in this unusual gem of a novel. A-

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If Meg Wolitzer were trying to dip into the YA world for an easy cash grab, she wouldn't have chosen such a nerdy literary topic. The author of the acclaimed 2013 epic The Interestings sets her teen novel at the Wooden Barn, a therapeutic boarding school in rustic Vermont meant for ''emotionally fragile, highly intelligent'' high schoolers. When Jam Gallahue moves into her dorm, she's still reeling from the death of her first love, Reeve. So she doesn't much care that she's been handpicked to enroll in an exclusive, mysterious lit seminar called Special Topics in English, which focuses on the works of poet-novelist Sylvia Plath. As Jam and her four classmates — who have also endured tragedies — delve into a semester-long journaling assignment, they're transported to a hallucinatory alternate reality (dubbed ''Belzhar,'' a nod to Plath's classic The Bell Jar) in which their pre-trauma lives are restored. The allure of that false reality is overpowering, but the lesson lies in the courage to leave it behind. Wolitzer melds the power of confessional writing, Plath's legacy, and the internal worlds of teenagers in this unusual gem of a novel. A-

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BELZHAR Meg Wolitzer]]>
EW.com-20855924 <![CDATA[Consumed]]> Wed, 24 Sep 2014 15:00:00 EDT ''Long live the new flesh,'' cries a transformed James Woods in Cronenberg's 1983 classic Videodrome. Indeed, the pet obsessions the director explored in that film have lived on for decades in his subsequent work, including his debut novel. They're all here: body horror, fetishism, techno-organic overlap, suppuration anxiety. Nathan and Naomi are a pair of freelance journalists who discover the stories they're working on independently — a doctor's daughter exhibiting strange symptoms and a French philosopher accused of killing and devouring his wife — might be related. Cronenberg has never striven for subtlety, and he writes with the understatement of a jackhammer. But like so much in his oeuvre, Consumed starts to grow on you after a while. B

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''Long live the new flesh,'' cries a transformed James Woods in Cronenberg's 1983 classic Videodrome. Indeed, the pet obsessions the director explored in that film have lived on for decades in his subsequent work, including his debut novel. They're all here: body horror, fetishism, techno-organic overlap, suppuration anxiety. Nathan and Naomi are a pair of freelance journalists who discover the stories they're working on independently — a doctor's daughter exhibiting strange symptoms and a French philosopher accused of killing and devouring his wife — might be related. Cronenberg has never striven for subtlety, and he writes with the understatement of a jackhammer. But like so much in his oeuvre, Consumed starts to grow on you after a while. B

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CONSUMED David Cronenberg]]>
EW.com-20855926 <![CDATA[On Immunity: An Inoculation]]> Wed, 24 Sep 2014 15:00:00 EDT What, you don't want to read nearly 200 pages about vaccination? The subject might sound dry to anyone who hasn't been fiercely debating it in her mommy group. But consider this: Eula Biss' fascinating pro-immunization book features a chapter on vampires. Although the National Book Critics Circle Award winner grounds her argument in rigorous medical, historical, and personal research — she became a mother herself just as swine-flu hysteria was sweeping the country — it's the creative thinking that makes On Immunity so compelling. Biss can turn practically anything into a metaphor for immunity: Bram Stoker's Dracula, the Occupy Wall Street movement, immigration policy, Greek mythology. And her theories about why anti-vaccine crusaders remain more afraid of inoculation than of disease itself are just as surprising as they are convincing.

Here's the biggest twist: On Immunity is not actually about vaccination. Sure, Biss ably traces the history of vaccines back to the 18th century, when doctors were injecting cow pus into humans, and she thoughtfully analyzes how class, gender, race, and nationality have played a role in shaping opinions on the matter since then. She also lays waste to common fears about vaccines, like the idea that they cause autism or can give a child mercury poisoning. (Apparently, a child will get more mercury exposure from her environment than from a shot, and breast milk isn't any less tainted. ''Laboratory analysis of breast milk has detected paint thinners, dry-cleaning fluids, flame retardants, pesticides, and rocket fuel,'' Biss reveals.) But this is a deeply philosophical book, one that's less concerned with pure science than with the elemental fear that we can never protect our children from the world. In fact, Biss believes, no one can ever truly be inoculated from other people — nor should anyone be. By exploring the anxieties about what's lurking inside our flu shots, the air, and ourselves, she drives home the message that we are all responsible for one another. On Immunity will make you consider that idea on a fairly profound level. So now do you want to read a book about vaccination? Well, if anyone can convince you that it's your moral obligation to do so, it's Biss. A

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What, you don't want to read nearly 200 pages about vaccination? The subject might sound dry to anyone who hasn't been fiercely debating it in her mommy group. But consider this: Eula Biss' fascinating pro-immunization book features a chapter on vampires. Although the National Book Critics Circle Award winner grounds her argument in rigorous medical, historical, and personal research — she became a mother herself just as swine-flu hysteria was sweeping the country — it's the creative thinking that makes On Immunity so compelling. Biss can turn practically anything into a metaphor for immunity: Bram Stoker's Dracula, the Occupy Wall Street movement, immigration policy, Greek mythology. And her theories about why anti-vaccine crusaders remain more afraid of inoculation than of disease itself are just as surprising as they are convincing.

Here's the biggest twist: On Immunity is not actually about vaccination. Sure, Biss ably traces the history of vaccines back to the 18th century, when doctors were injecting cow pus into humans, and she thoughtfully analyzes how class, gender, race, and nationality have played a role in shaping opinions on the matter since then. She also lays waste to common fears about vaccines, like the idea that they cause autism or can give a child mercury poisoning. (Apparently, a child will get more mercury exposure from her environment than from a shot, and breast milk isn't any less tainted. ''Laboratory analysis of breast milk has detected paint thinners, dry-cleaning fluids, flame retardants, pesticides, and rocket fuel,'' Biss reveals.) But this is a deeply philosophical book, one that's less concerned with pure science than with the elemental fear that we can never protect our children from the world. In fact, Biss believes, no one can ever truly be inoculated from other people — nor should anyone be. By exploring the anxieties about what's lurking inside our flu shots, the air, and ourselves, she drives home the message that we are all responsible for one another. On Immunity will make you consider that idea on a fairly profound level. So now do you want to read a book about vaccination? Well, if anyone can convince you that it's your moral obligation to do so, it's Biss. A

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ON IMMUNITY: AN INOCULATION Eula Biss]]>
EW.com-20855927 <![CDATA[The Zone of Interest]]> Wed, 24 Sep 2014 15:00:00 EDT This latest work from the U.K. author is a lusty and often comic novel set among the German overseers of an Auschwitz-like concentration camp (or, as it is referred to here, ''Kat Zet''). Offended by that concept? You have every right to be. To borrow a line of dialogue from one character as he looks at the flames emerging from the funnels of crematories, ''An unsympathetic observer might find all this rather reprehensible.'' But The Zone of Interest is no mere act of autumnal provocation from the onetime enfant terrible of British literature. It is an ultimately serious and diligently researched work with a streak of deadpan humor that reframes, and reemphasizes, the horror at hand. B+

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This latest work from the U.K. author is a lusty and often comic novel set among the German overseers of an Auschwitz-like concentration camp (or, as it is referred to here, ''Kat Zet''). Offended by that concept? You have every right to be. To borrow a line of dialogue from one character as he looks at the flames emerging from the funnels of crematories, ''An unsympathetic observer might find all this rather reprehensible.'' But The Zone of Interest is no mere act of autumnal provocation from the onetime enfant terrible of British literature. It is an ultimately serious and diligently researched work with a streak of deadpan humor that reframes, and reemphasizes, the horror at hand. B+

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THE ZONE OF INTEREST Martin Amis]]>
EW.com-20851934 <![CDATA[Broken Monsters]]> Wed, 10 Sep 2014 15:00:00 EDT ''Dead is dead,'' notes the first detective on site at the brutal crime scene that opens Broken Monsters. ''It's only the hows and whys that vary.... But even violence has its creative limits.''

So do serial-killer thrillers. It falls to the author, then, to pull something fresh from all that well-trod offal. South African novelist Beukes managed it masterfully in last year's time-traveling best-seller The Shining Girls, and she does it again in Monsters, fleshing out stock characters — tough-as-nails lady cop, ritualistic mad-man murderer, unscrupulous journalist on the make — and imbuing her story with shrewd social commentary, dark humor, and a dusting of metaphysical wonder.

The first body that shows up on a chilly Detroit night is unusual, even for Murder City: the head and torso of a 10-year-old boy crudely attached to the lower half of a deer. More grotesque taxidermies follow, though their maker isn't a mystery; Beukes tells us whodunit almost from the outset. That eliminates the ''how'' but not the ''why,'' which turns out to be a more complicated kind of beast. Monsters may not totally get at the bigger indictments it's aiming for, but it still delivers something smarter and sharper than your average splatter paperback. Gore is easy, after all; gutsy writing is a lot harder. B+

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''Dead is dead,'' notes the first detective on site at the brutal crime scene that opens Broken Monsters. ''It's only the hows and whys that vary.... But even violence has its creative limits.''

So do serial-killer thrillers. It falls to the author, then, to pull something fresh from all that well-trod offal. South African novelist Beukes managed it masterfully in last year's time-traveling best-seller The Shining Girls, and she does it again in Monsters, fleshing out stock characters — tough-as-nails lady cop, ritualistic mad-man murderer, unscrupulous journalist on the make — and imbuing her story with shrewd social commentary, dark humor, and a dusting of metaphysical wonder.

The first body that shows up on a chilly Detroit night is unusual, even for Murder City: the head and torso of a 10-year-old boy crudely attached to the lower half of a deer. More grotesque taxidermies follow, though their maker isn't a mystery; Beukes tells us whodunit almost from the outset. That eliminates the ''how'' but not the ''why,'' which turns out to be a more complicated kind of beast. Monsters may not totally get at the bigger indictments it's aiming for, but it still delivers something smarter and sharper than your average splatter paperback. Gore is easy, after all; gutsy writing is a lot harder. B+

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BROKEN MONSTERS Lauren Beukes]]>
EW.com-20851929 <![CDATA[Love Me Back]]> Wed, 10 Sep 2014 15:00:00 EDT Last year, Tierce was included in the National Book Foundation's list of ''5 Under 35'' writers to watch, and it's easy to see why: The stark, self-destructive voice of her debut is unforgettable. Written from the perspective of Marie, a single mom who got pregnant at 18, abandoned Yale for a waitressing job, and has made bad choices ever since, it's a brutal tour of dehumanizing sex, cutting, and other reminders that ''some kinds of pain make fine antidotes to others.'' The emotional impact wears off as Marie submits to self-harm again and again, without much insight to help us understand why. But as a hard look at a restaurant industry that runs on cocaine, empty hookups, managerial machismo, and servers' low self-esteem, it's gripping. B+

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Last year, Tierce was included in the National Book Foundation's list of ''5 Under 35'' writers to watch, and it's easy to see why: The stark, self-destructive voice of her debut is unforgettable. Written from the perspective of Marie, a single mom who got pregnant at 18, abandoned Yale for a waitressing job, and has made bad choices ever since, it's a brutal tour of dehumanizing sex, cutting, and other reminders that ''some kinds of pain make fine antidotes to others.'' The emotional impact wears off as Marie submits to self-harm again and again, without much insight to help us understand why. But as a hard look at a restaurant industry that runs on cocaine, empty hookups, managerial machismo, and servers' low self-esteem, it's gripping. B+

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LOVE ME BACK Merrite Tierce]]>
EW.com-20851936 <![CDATA[The Paying Guests]]> Wed, 10 Sep 2014 15:00:00 EDT The Paying Guests is a lot of book — and not only because it clocks in at almost 600 pages. What starts off as a keen examination of class in the post-Edwardian years following World War I (think Downton Abbey, season 4) morphs into a gripping, forbidden lesbian love affair until a violent incident transforms it into a fast-paced thriller and an eye-opening foray into an antiquated judicial system. It's the sort of novel that will keep you sleepless for three nights straight and leave you grasping for another book that can sustain that high.

It's 1922, and the war has claimed the lives of Frances Wray's two brothers and father. She and her mother, saddled with an empty London mansion and a crushing amount of debt from bad investments, have been forced to take in lodgers — or, the polite term, ''paying guests'' — to keep their heads above water. The tenants, Len and Lilian Barber, are from a lower but upwardly mobile class, and their curious, mismatched pairing becomes a point of fascination for Frances, dubbed a spinster at the age of 27. Waters depicts the stops and starts of the growing romance between Frances and Lilian with lovely, muscular language, which only heightens the delicious sense of dread when things take a sharp downward turn before the stunner of an ending.

Waters, author of Tipping the Velvet and Fingersmith, is more recognized and lauded in Britain, where she's been shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize three times. But she deserves far more attention in this country for her perceptive storytelling, and The Paying Guests — a novel of manners as well as a novel of passion — should win her a mass American audience. A

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The Paying Guests is a lot of book — and not only because it clocks in at almost 600 pages. What starts off as a keen examination of class in the post-Edwardian years following World War I (think Downton Abbey, season 4) morphs into a gripping, forbidden lesbian love affair until a violent incident transforms it into a fast-paced thriller and an eye-opening foray into an antiquated judicial system. It's the sort of novel that will keep you sleepless for three nights straight and leave you grasping for another book that can sustain that high.

It's 1922, and the war has claimed the lives of Frances Wray's two brothers and father. She and her mother, saddled with an empty London mansion and a crushing amount of debt from bad investments, have been forced to take in lodgers — or, the polite term, ''paying guests'' — to keep their heads above water. The tenants, Len and Lilian Barber, are from a lower but upwardly mobile class, and their curious, mismatched pairing becomes a point of fascination for Frances, dubbed a spinster at the age of 27. Waters depicts the stops and starts of the growing romance between Frances and Lilian with lovely, muscular language, which only heightens the delicious sense of dread when things take a sharp downward turn before the stunner of an ending.

Waters, author of Tipping the Velvet and Fingersmith, is more recognized and lauded in Britain, where she's been shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize three times. But she deserves far more attention in this country for her perceptive storytelling, and The Paying Guests — a novel of manners as well as a novel of passion — should win her a mass American audience. A

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THE PAYING GUESTS Sarah Waters]]>
EW.com-20851928 <![CDATA[Smoke Gets in Your Eyes]]> Wed, 10 Sep 2014 15:00:00 EDT Of the two certainties, death and taxes, only the former truly fascinates us. (Unless you have a thing for audits.) Doughty is a licensed mortician — and the host of the Web series Ask a Mortician — who has been curious about our final terminus ever since her childhood goldfish went belly-up, and in this memoir she spills the details of her early years working in a crematory. Like a professional Wednesday Addams, she goes through all the strange, awkward, and unpleasant specifics we, the general populace, would rather not deal with. For instance, how pacemakers can explode during cremation or how, regardless of your pop culture experience, ''seeing a flaming skull is intense beyond your wildest flights of imagination.'' It's mordantly morbid. B+

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Of the two certainties, death and taxes, only the former truly fascinates us. (Unless you have a thing for audits.) Doughty is a licensed mortician — and the host of the Web series Ask a Mortician — who has been curious about our final terminus ever since her childhood goldfish went belly-up, and in this memoir she spills the details of her early years working in a crematory. Like a professional Wednesday Addams, she goes through all the strange, awkward, and unpleasant specifics we, the general populace, would rather not deal with. For instance, how pacemakers can explode during cremation or how, regardless of your pop culture experience, ''seeing a flaming skull is intense beyond your wildest flights of imagination.'' It's mordantly morbid. B+

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SMOKE GETS IN YOUR EYES Caitlin Doughty]]>
EW.com-20851943 <![CDATA[Thirteen Days In September]]> Wed, 10 Sep 2014 15:00:00 EDT At one point in President Jimmy Carter's quest to coax peace out of Israel and Egypt at the 1978 Camp David summit, Egyptian president Anwar Sadat rebutted Carter's claim that one of his demands was not logical: ''Some things in the Middle East are not logical,'' he replied matter-of-factly. That might be the most apt description of the historic meetings, which surprised everyone — including the participants — by yielding the first-ever peace treaty between the two nations. Sadat was the charming military dictator who idolized Hitler, and Menachem Begin was the incisive but petulant Israeli who so complicated the negotiations with his bellicosity that Carter privately labeled him a ''psycho.'' Both arrived expecting a charade, but Carter, the Bible teacher and naval engineer who thought every problem had a reasonable solution, risked his own political livelihood to force concessions on both sides. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Wright expertly captures every move of the three-way realpolitik chess match. By using each man's biography to illuminate the history of his respective nation, he not only chronicles Camp David but elucidates the issues that continue to plague the Middle East. It's brilliant, penetrating scholarship. A

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At one point in President Jimmy Carter's quest to coax peace out of Israel and Egypt at the 1978 Camp David summit, Egyptian president Anwar Sadat rebutted Carter's claim that one of his demands was not logical: ''Some things in the Middle East are not logical,'' he replied matter-of-factly. That might be the most apt description of the historic meetings, which surprised everyone — including the participants — by yielding the first-ever peace treaty between the two nations. Sadat was the charming military dictator who idolized Hitler, and Menachem Begin was the incisive but petulant Israeli who so complicated the negotiations with his bellicosity that Carter privately labeled him a ''psycho.'' Both arrived expecting a charade, but Carter, the Bible teacher and naval engineer who thought every problem had a reasonable solution, risked his own political livelihood to force concessions on both sides. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Wright expertly captures every move of the three-way realpolitik chess match. By using each man's biography to illuminate the history of his respective nation, he not only chronicles Camp David but elucidates the issues that continue to plague the Middle East. It's brilliant, penetrating scholarship. A

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THIRTEEN DAYS IN SEPTEMBER Lawrence Wright]]>
EW.com-20851940 <![CDATA[Station Eleven]]> Wed, 10 Sep 2014 12:00:00 EDT Perhaps the very idea of another postapocalyptic tale exhausts you, but do stay, linger for a bit. Emily St. John Mandel's tender and lovely new novel, Station Eleven, indeed begins when the world as we know it ends. Mandel anchors her book with the collapse of aging Hollywood actor Arthur Leander, who suffers a heart attack during a production of King Lear. As colleagues gather to raise a glass in the man's honor, the author delivers a great slap of dread: ''Of all of them there at the bar that night, the bartender was the one who survived the longest. He died three weeks later on the road out of the city.''

Within weeks, the Georgia flu, an insidiously efficient virus born in Eastern Europe and blown across the globe like a poisonous kiss, has wiped out 99 percent of the population. Mandel devotes an excruciatingly forlorn seven paragraphs to humanity's ''incomplete list'' of loss: no more cities, no more flight, no more police, no more electric guitars, no more social media. It's what remains of a broken world that fuels a novel that miraculously reads like equal parts page-turner and poem.

One of her great feats is that the story feels spun rather than plotted, with seamless shifts in time and characters. Here, a young Arthur's fateful meeting with his first wife. Then, a Michigan airport where stranded passengers cluster in huddles of horror beneath screens showing CNN. Now, a resolute band of actors whose caravan roams between dystopian settlements performing Shakespeare and Beethoven. ''Because survival is insufficient,'' reads a line taken from Star Trek spray-painted on the Traveling Symphony's lead wagon. The genius of Mandel's fourth novel—the first with the marketing muscle of a major publisher—is that she lives up to those words. This is not a story of crisis and survival. It's one of art and family and memory and community and the awful courage it takes to look upon the world with fresh and hopeful eyes. A

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Perhaps the very idea of another postapocalyptic tale exhausts you, but do stay, linger for a bit. Emily St. John Mandel's tender and lovely new novel, Station Eleven, indeed begins when the world as we know it ends. Mandel anchors her book with the collapse of aging Hollywood actor Arthur Leander, who suffers a heart attack during a production of King Lear. As colleagues gather to raise a glass in the man's honor, the author delivers a great slap of dread: ''Of all of them there at the bar that night, the bartender was the one who survived the longest. He died three weeks later on the road out of the city.''

Within weeks, the Georgia flu, an insidiously efficient virus born in Eastern Europe and blown across the globe like a poisonous kiss, has wiped out 99 percent of the population. Mandel devotes an excruciatingly forlorn seven paragraphs to humanity's ''incomplete list'' of loss: no more cities, no more flight, no more police, no more electric guitars, no more social media. It's what remains of a broken world that fuels a novel that miraculously reads like equal parts page-turner and poem.

One of her great feats is that the story feels spun rather than plotted, with seamless shifts in time and characters. Here, a young Arthur's fateful meeting with his first wife. Then, a Michigan airport where stranded passengers cluster in huddles of horror beneath screens showing CNN. Now, a resolute band of actors whose caravan roams between dystopian settlements performing Shakespeare and Beethoven. ''Because survival is insufficient,'' reads a line taken from Star Trek spray-painted on the Traveling Symphony's lead wagon. The genius of Mandel's fourth novel—the first with the marketing muscle of a major publisher—is that she lives up to those words. This is not a story of crisis and survival. It's one of art and family and memory and community and the awful courage it takes to look upon the world with fresh and hopeful eyes. A

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STATION ELEVEN: A NOVEL Emily St. John Mandel]]>
EW.com-20849670 <![CDATA[The Children Act]]> Wed, 3 Sep 2014 15:00:00 EDT Ever since his 2001 magnum opus, Atonement, Ian McEwan has followed a reliable and effective template for his novels: A highly educated middle-aged professional goes about his well-to-do life until an out-of-nowhere incident stains his beige existence red. In this latest variation, the disaster that awaits Fiona Maye, a High Court judge, doesn't exactly hurtle toward her — it creeps around her like a tendril.

Fiona, 59, has won the esteem of her peers by presiding over tough family cases, such as whether to separate conjoined twins. Just as her husband of 30 years proposes an open marriage — an idea that's as preposterous to her as it is devastating — she gets a case involving a brilliant teenage Jehovah's Witness, Adam, who's refusing the blood transfusion that will save his life because of his (but really his parents') religious convictions. Whether because of her marital problems or her regrets over never having had children, Fiona finds herself in a situation with Adam that crosses a line. The consequences aren't as violent as those that befall McEwan's protagonists in Saturday and Solar, but Fiona's experience is no less haunting in this brief but substantial addition to the author's oeuvre. A-

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Ever since his 2001 magnum opus, Atonement, Ian McEwan has followed a reliable and effective template for his novels: A highly educated middle-aged professional goes about his well-to-do life until an out-of-nowhere incident stains his beige existence red. In this latest variation, the disaster that awaits Fiona Maye, a High Court judge, doesn't exactly hurtle toward her — it creeps around her like a tendril.

Fiona, 59, has won the esteem of her peers by presiding over tough family cases, such as whether to separate conjoined twins. Just as her husband of 30 years proposes an open marriage — an idea that's as preposterous to her as it is devastating — she gets a case involving a brilliant teenage Jehovah's Witness, Adam, who's refusing the blood transfusion that will save his life because of his (but really his parents') religious convictions. Whether because of her marital problems or her regrets over never having had children, Fiona finds herself in a situation with Adam that crosses a line. The consequences aren't as violent as those that befall McEwan's protagonists in Saturday and Solar, but Fiona's experience is no less haunting in this brief but substantial addition to the author's oeuvre. A-

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THE CHILDREN ACT Ian McEwan]]>
EW.com-20849672 <![CDATA[Daring]]> Wed, 3 Sep 2014 15:00:00 EDT Gutsy — that's the word to describe Sheehy, who elbowed her way through the journalism ranks in the '60s and '70s with grit, tenacious reporting, and an eye for detail. Her exuberance leaps off the page as she maps out her professional highs — interviews with world leaders, her best-seller Passages — against the backdrop of a failed first marriage and her decades-long relationship with New York magazine founder Clay Felker. A-

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Gutsy — that's the word to describe Sheehy, who elbowed her way through the journalism ranks in the '60s and '70s with grit, tenacious reporting, and an eye for detail. Her exuberance leaps off the page as she maps out her professional highs — interviews with world leaders, her best-seller Passages — against the backdrop of a failed first marriage and her decades-long relationship with New York magazine founder Clay Felker. A-

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DARING Gail Sheehy]]>
EW.com-20849666 <![CDATA[The Dog]]> Wed, 3 Sep 2014 15:00:00 EDT No man is an island, but that doesn't stop the narrator of Joseph O'Neill's slim but engrossing follow-up to Netherland from trying to minimize the isthmus connecting him to the mainland of humanity. Living (or more accurately existing) in the no-questions-asked desert of Dubai — where men and islands both can be fabricated — makes this an easier task, but working as a faithful rubber stamper for a family of obscene and dubious wealth places him in certain legal crosshairs. Thus he's constructed himself a pillow fort of liability disclaimers and plausible deniability. But, of course, this can only protect him so much.

The narrator's flat affect, droning with lawyerly pedantry and extenuation, can make reading The Dog a little like looking over some legal documents. But as with any paperwork, the really important stuff is between the lines, and the character's retreat into a purely contractual view of the world — he calculates the exact percentage of his salary he needs to donate in order to assuage his guilt over Dubai's quasi-enslaved immigrant workforce — starts to reveal itself as well-disguised pathos. Lest I make it sound like a slog, the novel is often wonderfully droll, especially in its portrayal of the oddities of a city whose ''mission is to make itself indistinguishable from its airport.'' Also, always amusing are the protagonist's mentally composed emails, never-to-be sent missives in which he lists all of his grievances like an office-computer version of Saul Bellow's Herzog. O'Neill makes this unlikable figure engaging despite his disdain for engagement. But he's kind enough to leave him nameless, which is how he would want it. A-

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No man is an island, but that doesn't stop the narrator of Joseph O'Neill's slim but engrossing follow-up to Netherland from trying to minimize the isthmus connecting him to the mainland of humanity. Living (or more accurately existing) in the no-questions-asked desert of Dubai — where men and islands both can be fabricated — makes this an easier task, but working as a faithful rubber stamper for a family of obscene and dubious wealth places him in certain legal crosshairs. Thus he's constructed himself a pillow fort of liability disclaimers and plausible deniability. But, of course, this can only protect him so much.

The narrator's flat affect, droning with lawyerly pedantry and extenuation, can make reading The Dog a little like looking over some legal documents. But as with any paperwork, the really important stuff is between the lines, and the character's retreat into a purely contractual view of the world — he calculates the exact percentage of his salary he needs to donate in order to assuage his guilt over Dubai's quasi-enslaved immigrant workforce — starts to reveal itself as well-disguised pathos. Lest I make it sound like a slog, the novel is often wonderfully droll, especially in its portrayal of the oddities of a city whose ''mission is to make itself indistinguishable from its airport.'' Also, always amusing are the protagonist's mentally composed emails, never-to-be sent missives in which he lists all of his grievances like an office-computer version of Saul Bellow's Herzog. O'Neill makes this unlikable figure engaging despite his disdain for engagement. But he's kind enough to leave him nameless, which is how he would want it. A-

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THE DOG Joseph O'Neill]]>
EW.com-20849674 <![CDATA[The Human Age]]> Wed, 3 Sep 2014 15:00:00 EDT In her latest, Ackerman takes a hard look at the impact that humans have had on Earth and what might slow our inevitable extinction. With a poet's soul and a journalist's precision, she makes plenty of thought-provoking — though occasionally disjointed — revelations. Her examinations of overpopulation, the energy crisis, and our dependence on technology make The Human Age both foreboding and inspirational. B

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In her latest, Ackerman takes a hard look at the impact that humans have had on Earth and what might slow our inevitable extinction. With a poet's soul and a journalist's precision, she makes plenty of thought-provoking — though occasionally disjointed — revelations. Her examinations of overpopulation, the energy crisis, and our dependence on technology make The Human Age both foreboding and inspirational. B

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THE HUMAN AGE Diane Ackerman]]>
EW.com-20849673 <![CDATA[I'll Give You the Sun]]> Wed, 3 Sep 2014 15:00:00 EDT Like its cover, Jandy Nelson's novel — her second, after The Sky Is Everywhere — is a blazing, prismatic explosion of color. In the beginning, male-female twins Noah and Jude are total opposites yet still enmeshed in each other's lives. Noah is a gifted artist but debilitatingly right-brained — he's unsure whether he said ''I wish I were a horse'' out loud in front of the boy he likes or just thinks he said it. He sees the world with a surrealist's eye: ''Jude barfs bright blue fluorescent barf all over the table, but I'm the only one who notices.'' Unsurprisingly, Noah has a hard time making friends and gets bullied by the local ''surftards.'' In her own way, Jude is an artsy weirdo too, having inherited her dead grandmother's New Agey obsessions, but unlike Noah, she's able to hide her freak flag behind her Blake Lively-esque good looks. The novel uses an ingenious structure to capture the twins' devolution: Noah's narration takes place when they're 13 and adolescent competition and betrayals are starting to pull them apart, and Jude's starts when they're 16, after a trauma has made them unrecognizable to themselves and to each other.

Nelson's gifts in tackling huge subjects — death, grief, all-consuming love — with humor and gravitas will draw comparisons to the two reigning superstars of non-apocalyptic YA lit, John Green and Rainbow Rowell. But the intensity of her writing stands alone, in good and bad ways. There are times when it's way too much and even exhausting, but that's how it should be. Noah and Jude are at an age where synapses aren't yet settled and emotions burn too hot for comfort. Whether you're at that age right now or you've forgotten what it feels like, I'll Give You the Sun is that rare, immersive teen novel: To read it is a coming-of-age experience in itself. A-

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Like its cover, Jandy Nelson's novel — her second, after The Sky Is Everywhere — is a blazing, prismatic explosion of color. In the beginning, male-female twins Noah and Jude are total opposites yet still enmeshed in each other's lives. Noah is a gifted artist but debilitatingly right-brained — he's unsure whether he said ''I wish I were a horse'' out loud in front of the boy he likes or just thinks he said it. He sees the world with a surrealist's eye: ''Jude barfs bright blue fluorescent barf all over the table, but I'm the only one who notices.'' Unsurprisingly, Noah has a hard time making friends and gets bullied by the local ''surftards.'' In her own way, Jude is an artsy weirdo too, having inherited her dead grandmother's New Agey obsessions, but unlike Noah, she's able to hide her freak flag behind her Blake Lively-esque good looks. The novel uses an ingenious structure to capture the twins' devolution: Noah's narration takes place when they're 13 and adolescent competition and betrayals are starting to pull them apart, and Jude's starts when they're 16, after a trauma has made them unrecognizable to themselves and to each other.

Nelson's gifts in tackling huge subjects — death, grief, all-consuming love — with humor and gravitas will draw comparisons to the two reigning superstars of non-apocalyptic YA lit, John Green and Rainbow Rowell. But the intensity of her writing stands alone, in good and bad ways. There are times when it's way too much and even exhausting, but that's how it should be. Noah and Jude are at an age where synapses aren't yet settled and emotions burn too hot for comfort. Whether you're at that age right now or you've forgotten what it feels like, I'll Give You the Sun is that rare, immersive teen novel: To read it is a coming-of-age experience in itself. A-

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I'LL GIVE YOU THE SUN Jandy Nelson]]>
EW.com-20849683 <![CDATA[The Terrorist's Son]]> Wed, 3 Sep 2014 15:00:00 EDT When Ebrahim was a boy, his father killed a rabbi and helped plan the 1993 World Trade Center bombing from his prison cell. The radical Muslim community in which Ebrahim was raised expected him to follow in his dad's footsteps, but he rejected that fate. In his powerful, affecting memoir (written with former EW deputy editor Jeff Giles), he says, ''My father lost his way — but that didn't stop me from finding mine.'' A-

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When Ebrahim was a boy, his father killed a rabbi and helped plan the 1993 World Trade Center bombing from his prison cell. The radical Muslim community in which Ebrahim was raised expected him to follow in his dad's footsteps, but he rejected that fate. In his powerful, affecting memoir (written with former EW deputy editor Jeff Giles), he says, ''My father lost his way — but that didn't stop me from finding mine.'' A-

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THE TERRORIST'S SON Zak Ebrahim]]>
EW.com-20849682 <![CDATA[Your Face in Mine]]> Wed, 3 Sep 2014 15:00:00 EDT What if you could change your race? That's the question in Your Face in Mine, in which racial reassignment surgery turns Martin, a white Jewish dude, into a black man. Row challenges our understanding of how much of our identity we're born with and how much we choose. The novel meanders at times, but its central conceit and Martin's exploration lead to some thoughtful insights. B

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What if you could change your race? That's the question in Your Face in Mine, in which racial reassignment surgery turns Martin, a white Jewish dude, into a black man. Row challenges our understanding of how much of our identity we're born with and how much we choose. The novel meanders at times, but its central conceit and Martin's exploration lead to some thoughtful insights. B

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YOUR FACE IN MINE Jess Ross]]>