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March 26, 2009

Page-Turners: March Book Reviews

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the weight of heaven
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** THE WEIGHT OF HEAVEN BY THRITY UMRIGAR (HARPER) Thanks to the boffo success of Eat, Pray, Love, readers have expectations for the American-seeking-enlightenment-in-India genre, and Umrigar smartly serves up her revelations in monsoon season with odes to spicy food. For Midwesterners Frank and Ellie Benton, who arrive in search of healing after their 7-year-old dies from a freak illness, India is a dizzying refuge where grief is a shared condition, like traffic and pollution. This is a big, sweeping story that crisscrosses cultures, traditions, and conflicts, but it's anchored by the persistent hope that tomorrow will bring relief.
—Katie Charles

** A FORTUNATE AGE BY JOANNA SMITH RAKOFF (SCRIBNER) Remember how in college you thought that by 35, you'd have your act together? Then you'll feel simpatico with the hipster clique in Rakoff's debut novel — creative types whose professional ennui has blanched their romantic lives, too: Sadie negotiates the aftermath of her idiotic trysts, while Lil owns up to her not-so-fairy-tale marriage. As the tight-knit group drifts from their Belgian beer-soaked heyday, they begin to realize that their fancy liberal-arts ideals won't pay the mortgage — and that not every hangover can be remedied over brunch.
—Lori Fradkin

*** THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES BY CECELIA AHERN (HARPER) Joyce Conway doesn't have time to mourn her miscarriage or divorce. Not when a life- saving blood transfusion leaves her with the eerie sense that she's received the donor's memories along with his plasma. Enter the hottie donor, Justin Hitchcock. After a few chance encounters, the cosmically connected pair embarks on a loony hunt for each other. Ahern cleverly uses the same mystical flirtations that made her P.S. I Love You a big-screen rom-com. Sure, you can predict the ending — but it's no less fun getting there.
—Jihan Thompson

* the best of the airport newsstand
** clear space on the nightstand
*** read it before Reese Witherspoon options it
**** worth the rush shipping fees

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