The Voyage

PHILIP CAPUTO’S new novel The Voyage (Knopf, $26.00) is an old-fashioned book. Set for the most part around the turn of the century, it chronicles the adventures of the three Braithwaite brothers as they pilot their father’s schooner Double Eagle down the east coast. As in any boy’s sea story, the young Braithwaites must test themselves against the inevitable calamities to earn their manhood.

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The Street Lawyer

JOHN GRISHAM’S ninth novel, The Street Lawyer, follows the basic formula of his other bestsellers, taking a jaded lawyer disillusioned with the American system of justice and–through a series of dire and not always believable events–leading him back to his original idealism through the true promise of those same institutions.

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Six Figures

FRED G. LEEBRON’S provocative second novel takes on the frustrations of the young American middle class, born to privilege and fearful they may fail in their expected pursuit of success.  By painstakingly dissecting the thwarted aspirations of its main character, Warner Lutz, it serves as a cautionary tale for the nasdaq generation.

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Single & Single

SINCE THE mid-’60s, David Cornwell, writing under the name John Le Carré, has given us literate spy thrillers tied in some way to the political zeitgeist of Cold War Britain and by extension Western Europe. Whether he is working with Palestinians or Northern Irish nationalists or Russian mobsters, he finds a way to deliver their worlds and their choices and also to keep us entertained.  Based on his earlier, inestimable success, the advertising copy for his newest novel, Single & Single, declares that he “both epitomizes and transcends the novel of espionage”–not a small claim.

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Cheap Thrills

WRITING ABOUT MUSIC is like dancing about architecture, Lori Anderson said, at once over- and understating the case.  The deep and physical reaction we have to music can’t be stimulated or duplicated by any other medium.  The ecstatic sympathy brought on by, say, one of John Coltrane’s ascensions or the roar of Nirvana live can’t be codified or explained away, though thousands of critics and academics will try.

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