Picks and Pans Review: Breakable You

updated 10/02/2006 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 10/02/2006 AT 01:00 AM EDT

By Brian Morton

A literary theft, a death and the sparking of desire make for a tumultuous year in the lives of four New Yorkers fumbling toward belated self-discovery. Thanks to moderate fame (and Viagra), novelist Adam Weller is relishing a young girlfriend, while Eleanor, his ex-wife, is haltingly seeking a sense of purpose. Their daughter, grad student Maud, is waking to life outside the mind with the help of a man mourning a lost child. In this polished, affecting novel, their stories intertwine and uplift: As Maud, the book's tender heart, reflects, striving is "the law of life."

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