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A Handbook to Luck

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In a loosely linked trio of narratives, Cristina García’s A Handbook to Luck opens in 1968 and follows three children into adulthood: Cuban exile Enrique Florit is the son of a magician who’s hit it big in Las Vegas; bright Marta Claros sells used clothing on the streets of San Salvador; and Leila Rezvani is the privileged daughter of a wealthy heart surgeon in Tehran. In an eccentric world where mothers are accidentally electrocuted on stage and brothers reside in coral trees, fate naturally arranges for the three to meet. The pleasure here is García’s truffle-rich prose and expert handling of time’s passage. The plot, such as it is, pales in comparison. A-