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Best novels of 2008

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The Story of Edgar Sawtelle
By David Wroblewski (Ecco, 566 pp., $25.95)
Echoes of Hamlet reverberate in this hauntingly impressive debut novel about a mute boy and his dog. Set in rural Wisconsin, this book reads like a tender coming-of-age story grafted onto a literary thriller. (6/12/08)

America, America
By Ethan Canin (Random House, 458 pp., $27)
Ethan Canin’s pitch-perfect novel recalls small-town America before Watergate. This story of a provincial boy dazzled by a big-time politician is both a coming-of-age saga and a melancholy look back at a more idealistic era. (7/4/08)

Netherland
By Joseph O’Neill (Pantheon, 256 pp., $23.95)
In this rueful but generous and occasionally comedic book, the unlikely sport of cricket creates a connection for characters in post-9/11 New York. The story examines the impact of tragedy and its aftermath on human life. (7/11/08)

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