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Ben Lerner’s “The Topeka School” sees violence everywhere

The celebrated novelist's latest takes on Trump, Clinton-era complacency, and what it means to be a man

By Lara Feigel   Winter Special

The Topeka School opens with a brilliant set-piece scene. Adam—a stand-in for Ben Lerner familiar from the author’s two previous novels—finds himself in sole charge of his girlfriend Amber’s boat, after she’s apparently swum off, leaving him in awkward mid-sentence. Comically inept as a sailor, the teenage Adam docks the boat and…

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