Picks and Pans Review: New in Paperback
>SHOWDOWN Jorge Amado's brash, rambling saga about the settling of Brazil's cacao country around 1900 packs more plot than punch. (Bantam)
EMPEROR OF THE AIR The stories in this first collection by Harvard medical student Ethan Canin are insightful and idiosyncratically witty enough to make common human confusions seem almost manageable. (Perennial)
Somebody should have gone to literary court to protest this novel. It's so packed with goofy plot and contrivances—about the hotel business, the rich and romance—that it took two writers using the name Judith Michael to concoct it—or share the blame. (Pocket)
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