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|| Karen Bender's powerfully affecting first novel has garnered remarkable early attention. Portions of the novel have been published in THE NEW YORKER, GRANTA, and STORY magazine. An excerpt chosen for THE BEST AMERICAN SHORT STORIES by Annie Proulx was recorded by Joanne Woodward and aired on NPR's SELECTED SHORTS. A tour de force of literary craft and emotional resonance, LIKE NORMAL PEOPLE charts a family constellation that revolves around an off-kilter center: Lena, who is forty-eight but mentally locked in childhood. Moving deftly between present and past, the novel follows Lena's day-long escape from her residential home with her troubled twelve-year-old niece. While this odd couple takes refuge on a honky-tonk southern California beach, Lena's widowed mother, Ella, goes in search of them. In the process, Ella relives her own life's dreams and disappointments: her marriage to a sweet, loving shoe salesman; her discovery of Lena's handicap and her aching attempts to give...
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