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Disaster Strikes! Three Books Where Things Go Awry

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Things go wrong in most stories. It would be a dull plot that did not include an upset, a setback or an obstacle.

But it takes a special kind of reversal to turn one of these plots into a black comedy. Often it's a tiny slip that becomes a vortex of disaster; sometimes it's a growing avalanche of humiliation.

But it's always hewn from the stuff of everyday life, which we see transformed into a minefield using only the slightest shift in perspective. And it allows us to laugh while giving thanks it's not happening to us.

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