Verbal combat in 1990’s Kansas

Ben Lerner's new novel "The Topeka School" takes us back to the 1990s with the return of Adam Gordon, the protagonist in Lerner's first novel, "Leaving from the Atocha Station." Adam is a graduating high school senior and debate champion, but Lerner is up to much more than a good story about a Kansas boy.

Waiting for Dilly Hearne

Two old Irish drug smugglers sit on a bench and chat in a derelict ferry terminal in Kevin Barry’s third novel, “Night Boat to Tangier.” It's a funny, dark, intoxicating story where the pages fly past under the quick-witted banter of Maurice and Charlie, who are looking for Maurice’s estranged daughter.