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Books: January 17, 2014

Capsule reviews of ”The Flame-Throwers,” ”Life After Life,” and more

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The Flame-Throwers
Rachel Kushner
Novel
Kushner depicts New York’s 1970s art scene so vividly you could get high off the paint. B+

Gun Guys
Dan Baum
Nonfiction
A tour of American gun culture that’s both riveting and timely. A

Life After Life
Kate Atkinson
Novel
EW’s No. 1 novel of 2013 is the kaleidoscopic tale of a woman whose life plays out in dozens of ways. A

Tenth of December
George Saunders
Short Stories
From the beloved cult author comes another collection of surreal and marvelous short stories about American nuttiness. A

Trains and Lovers
Alexander McCall Smith
Novel
Four strangers — seated together by chance on a train from Edinburgh to London — strike up a conversation and share their stories with one another. A-

Vampires in the Lemon Grove
Karen Russell
Short Stories
The author of the 2012 Pulitzer finalist Swamplandia! serves up a luminous set of zany, genre-mashing stories. B+

Most grades are from EW’s reviews of the original releases