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I once caught a student cheating. She had turned in a project that was word-for-word identical to two of her friends’. The other two girls were suitably remorseful, but this girl met me in the hallway with a defiant thrust to her chin. When I called her mother and relayed what had happened, her mother’s casual response was, and I quote, “I cheated in high school, and I turned out fine.”

Perhaps this is why plagiarism so deeply offends me: the brazenness of it, and the blasé acceptance with which our culture meets it. Did the student think I wouldn’t notice? That I was so lackadaisical a grader that I wouldn’t realize I was reading the same thing three times? Did her mother really think teaching her daughter she can claim the work of others with impunity was good parenting? Is this the truth we are left with, that you can lie, and cheat, and steal, and still “turn out fine”?

That student’s mother wouldn’t like Three-Martini Lunch. I doubt someone who cares so little about academic integrity spends much time reading, and furthermore, a person who can’t grasp the wrongness of stealing something as abstract as words won’t find the book’s central conflict terribly compelling. Rindell sets her sophomore novel in the high-stakes world of 1950s publishing houses, a world her characters are desperate to break into, each in his own way. Some more desperate than others.

I don’t want to give too much away here. My reading experience felt like a breathless sprint around continuous blind corners, and I would hate to rob anyone of that. I will say that Rindell’s writing is, for me, the perfect balance of plot momentum and character development. All three characters who take turns narrating became 100% real to me, and somehow Rindell is able to achieve that without ever slowing her pace. I don’t know how the hell she does it. If I did, I’d bottle that secret sauce and sell it to novelists everywhere for $4.99 a pop.

With regards to GP Putnam’s Sons and NetGalley for the advance copy. On sale April 5!

Find it at your library!

Being a mom is a thankless job. There's no off switch for momming. You're always on, even when you can land a babysitter, because “out of sight, out of mind” doesn't apply to children. South Korean author Kyung-sook Shin's Please Look After Mom explores the uncelebrated life of one such mother, who held her family together for years until one moment in a train station changed everything.

It's a novel told in four voices: a daughter, a son, a father, and finally the mother they're all searching for, who went missing one day when she didn't make it onto a train in time. You wouldn't think losing a grown woman, even in a crowded and bustling city, would be that big a crisis, but as the pages flip by, it becomes clear that this family's mother is not okay, and hasn't been for some time—and finding her won't be as easy as you, or her loved ones, might expect.

There are aspects of the mother's life that no one knows about, not even her husband and children. There are struggles from her past that they can't fathom, and pain in her present that they have conveniently ignored. Now that she's gone, the family is adrift.

This is a quiet read, almost meditative in quality. It rewards focus and perseverance. By the end, I felt I understood the mother on a profound level, in a way her family members failed to—but thanks to the multiple perspectives, I also felt I understood where her husband and children were coming from.

If you're looking to diversify your reading by adding some books in translation, this would be a good starting place.