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What to read this week: New books by Yan Lianke, Ray Connolly and Sarah Selecky

"The Day the Sun Died" by Yan Lianke. Photo Credit: Grove Press

THE DAY THE SUN DIED by Yan Lianke. Called China's "most controversial" writer, Yan  has often found his work banned for its surreal satires of the Chinese ruling class. In this new novel, translated from Chinese by Carlos Rojas, a small mountain village is struck by an epidemic of "dreamwalking" where its residents, zombielike, begin to loot and murder, sending the local crematory into overdrive. (Grove Press, $26)

BEING JOHN LENNON by Ray Connolly. The author of "Being Elvis" turns his attention to John Lennon with this study of Lennon's "labyrinth of contradictions." The central contradiction: "Having started and then helped build [the Beatles] into the most loved musical and cultural ensemble of the 20th century, he then merrily turned himself into the iconoclast who destroyed them," Connolly writes. (Pegasus, $29.95) 

RADIANT SHIMMERING LIGHT by Sarah Selecky. Lillian Quick is an unsuccessful pet portrait artist. Her cousin Eleven Novak is a self-help guru with a Manhattan center called "the Temple" that may be nothing more than a pyramid scheme. The collision of these two women leads to plenty of delicious New Age satire in this novel by a Canadian writer. (Bloomsbury, $27)

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