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The Topeka School

“If you've read Lerner's cultishly celebrated first two novels, Leaving the Atocha Station and 10:04, you'll find both familiar and unfamiliar things in his third one. Familiar is the character Adam Gordon, who shares a name with the impishly semiautobiographical hero of Atocha Station and many characteristics with 10:04's unnamed writer narrator too. But The Topeka School is a different beast, expanding into a more traditional form by including Adam's parents, two New York psychologists transplanted into red-state Kansas, as narrators too. And while there are fascinating aspects of Adam's story as a high school debating champ wrestling with teenage prairie masculinity, it's with his parents, full of the knowledge and lingo of psychiatric analysis but still unable to escape the flawed dramas of human relations, that this speech-drunk (and speech-skeptical) story really takes flight.”

Phinney Books image Tom Nissley, Phinney Books

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