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Best novels of 2008

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Telex from Cuba
By Rachel Kushner (Scribner, 336 pp., $25)
Told from the perspectives of two young teens, assorted society matrons, and an exotic dancer and her arms-dealer lover, this debut novel chronicles the privilege-soaked lives of Americans in Cuba in the run-up to revolution. Rachel Kushner has an eye for detail and writes so engagingly readers may not even realize they’re getting a history lesson. (7/18/08)

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
By Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
(Dial Press, 274 pp., $22)
“The Jane Austen Book Club” meets “84 Charing Cross Road” in this charmer about the activities of a small group of Britain’s Channel Islanders and how they lived during five years of Nazi occupation. (7/28/08)

The Likeness
By Tana French (Viking, 480 pp., $25.95)
A detective called to a murder scene receives the shock of her life: The victim, a grad student, looks just like her – and was using one of her old aliases. With no other leads, the police conceal the murder and the detective goes under cover to flush out the killer in this gripping novel by Edgar Award-winner French. (8/1/08)

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