New in Paperback: “Made in China” and “Better Luck Next Time”

FOUR LOST CITIES: A Secret History of the Urban Age, by Annalee Newitz. (Norton, 320 pages, $17.95.) This tale traces the rise and fall of four ancient cities: Pompeii, Çatalhöyük in central Turkey, Angkor in Cambodia, and the indigenous metropolis Cahokia along the Mississippi River. Our reviewer, Russell Shorto, compared the book to a cross between “a travel guide to places that no longer exist” and “a compendium of archaeological finds about the urban origins of mankind”.

THE BAD MUSLIM DISCOUNT, by Syed M. Masood. (Anchor, 368 pages. $17.) According to our reviewer, Chelsea Leu, this novel “presents a stereoscopic, three-dimensional view of contemporary Muslim America: how historical conflict in the Middle East lingers in the lives of individuals, how gossip spreads through a community close-knit immigrants”.

MADE IN CHINA: A prisoner, an SOS letter and the hidden cost of cheap American goods, by Amelia Pang. (Algonquin, 288 pages, $16.95.) This investigation into labor practices in China follows Sun Yi, a Falun Gong practitioner who is forced to work in a labor camp in the northeast region of the country. Pang’s narrative “seems timely and urgent,” noted our reviewer Lauren Hilgers, especially when it puts “the production and the torture side by side.”

MORE LUCK NEXT TIME, by Julia Claiborne Johnson. (Custom House, 304 pages, $16.99.) According to our reviewer, Alida Becker, this novel is filled with “movie star silks” who spend several weeks together on “a 1930s Nevada dude ranch full of women about to be divorced.” The result is a “powerful mix of hooch, heartache and high altitude” and lots of mess.

ANARCHY: The East India Company, corporate violence and the plunder of an empire, by William Dalrymple. (Bloomsbury, 576 pages, $20.) “The greatest virtue of this disturbingly enjoyable book” on the history of the East India Company, commented our reviewer, Ian Morris, “is perhaps less the questions it answers than the stories it arouses on the place of companies in the world”.

A LIE SOMEONE TOLD YOU ABOUT YOURSELF, by Peter Ho Davies. (Mariner, 256 pages, $15.99.) “Novels and memoirs that begin with a pregnancy tend to follow a predictable trajectory,” observed our reviewer, Elisabeth Egan. Instead, Davies’ novel “throws new ingredients into the family pot.” There are two pregnancies, an abortion, an autism plot, and an honest account of parenthood with “a distinctive whiff of memory.”

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