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Tuesday, August 9, 2022

New in Paperback: ‘How Beautiful We Were’ and ‘The Cult of We’

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HOW BEAUTIFUL WE WERE, by Imbolo Mbue. (Random House, 384 pp., $18.) Mbue’s sweeping fable, charting the struggle between a fictional African village and an American oil company, was one of the Book Review’s 10 Best Books of 2021. According to our reviewer, Omar El Akkad, “Mbue is masterly at shading in the spaces where greed and guilt intermingle.”

COWBOY GRAVES: Three Novellas, by Roberto Bolaño. Translated by Natasha Wimmer. (Penguin, 208 pp., $16.) What anchors the “Bolañoverse,” our reviewer, Garth Risk Hallberg, commented, is “the loss of youth inscribing a larger loss of historical possibility.” In these stories, Bolaño’s fictional double returns to Chile after the 1973 coup, a poet reckons with the coup’s aftermath and a 17-year-old is recruited to a clandestine surrealist art group in French Guiana.

THE GOOD GIRLS: An Ordinary Killing, by Sonia Faleiro. (Grove, 352 pp., $17.) In 2014, the bodies of two teenage cousins were found hanging from a mango tree in India. Faleiro, who investigated the circumstances of the deaths, has written a “transfixing” account, the former Times critic Parul Sehgal noted. “It has the pacing and mood of a whodunit, but no clear reveal.”

THE CULT OF WE: WeWork, Adam Neumann, and the Great Startup Delusion, by Eliot Brown and Maureen Farrell. (Crown, 464 pp., $18.) Although the rise and fall of WeWork has been covered extensively since 2020, this latest addition is binge-worthy. As our reviewer, Katherine Rosman, put it, “The book saves its firepower for the cataclysmic combination of Neumann’s gift for salesmanship, addiction to fund-raising and focus on his personal wealth.”

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