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'Lottery'

Paul Theroux–approved author Patricia Wood starts strong.

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Fear not: This novel about a mildly retarded man who wins the Washington State Lottery is no Forrest Gump retread—we much prefer this (admittedly folksy) narrator to Tom Hanks as a mentally challenged Zelig. Perry Crandall's sudden windfall draws out both the caretakers and the predators; the suspense lies in watching him negotiate a suddenly complicated life. Patricia Wood's mentor, Paul Theroux, lent his literary wisdom to a book that manages to be heartfelt and totally not corny.

Lottery
By Patricia Wood; Putnam; $24.95; Out August 2.


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