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Best novels of 2008

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All Shall Be Well; And All Shall Be Well; And All Manner of Things Shall Be Well
By Tod Wodicka (Pantheon, 266 pp., $21.95)
Bert Hecker is a 60-something medieval reenactor who wanders around in robe and sandals and refuses to consume coffee, French fries, or chocolate because they’re “OOP” – out of period. This darkly comic yet tender debut novel chronicles Bert’s struggles after losing his wife as he works to reconnect with his children. (3/18/08)

So Brave, Young, and Handsome
By Leif Enger (Atlantic Monthly Press, 285 pp., $24)
An aging outlaw and a stalled author hit the road together on an unlikely quest in this charming, deft tale set in the Western US in the early 1900s. (4/30/08)

The Plague of Doves
By Louise Erdrich (HarperCollins, 311 pp., $25.95)
Past and present, innocence and guilt, overlap in the latest novel from National Book Circle Critic Award-winner Louise Erdrich. Set in the fictional town of Pluto, N.D., this lyric and ultimately redemptive work examines the way a horrific act of violence shapes lives for at least three generations. (5/6/08)

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