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Arizona

FICTION: A migrant child washes up on a beach — alive — in Omar El Akkad's follow-up to "American War." "What Strange Paradise" by: Omar El Akkad; Alfred A. Knopf (256 pages, $25.95) ——— In his 2017 debut novel, "American War," Omar El Akkad spotlighted Middle East humanitarian crises by reimagining them on U.S. soil. Perhaps, the novel implied, Americans might pay refugees and sectarian ...

FICTION: A thrilling debut in which a pilot must crash his plane to save his family. "Falling" by T.J. Newman; Avid Reader Press (304 pages, $28) ——— Early into "Falling," and not long into a flight from Los Angeles to New York, the pilot-protagonist Bill Hoffman takes a calculated risk and confides in a hushed tone to his friend. "Jo," he whispers. "We have a situation." Which is something of ...

T.J. Newman spent four years in Illinois going about her business in the most benign way imaginable — studying musical theater, surrounded by Central Illinois farmland. And now, thanks to T.J. Newman, and the pandemic, and general anxiety, but mostly T.J. Newman: no thank you, I don’t feel like flying. Pop culture offers no shortage of reasons to avoid commercial airlines. Snakes on a plane. ...

FICTION: In this hilarious debut novel, a "sad millennial" is unemployed and emotionally adrift in Arizona. "Mona at Sea" by Elizabeth Gonzalez James; Santa Fe Writers Project (268 pages, $15.95) ——— Mona Mireles, the unemployed young protagonist of Elizabeth Gonzalez James' hilarious debut novel, has plenty to moan about. She'd hate the pun in the previous sentence. Her own humor is incisive ...

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