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New short reads: Colum McCann, Freeman's, Marian Thurm

New short reads from Colum McCann, John Freeman

New short reads from Colum McCann, John Freeman and Marian Thurm. Credit: Random House/Grove/SixOneSevenBooks

THIRTEEN WAYS OF LOOKING, by Colum McCann. The author of "TransAtlantic" and "Let the Great World Spin," winner of the National Book Award in 2009, is back with his first collection of short fiction in more than a decade. In the title story -- really a novella -- a retired judge, returning from lunch with his son, is assaulted on the street, an incident that weirdly prefigured an incident in 2014 when McCann, as he explains, "was punched from behind and knocked unconscious." (Random House, $26)

FREEMAN'S: ARRIVAL, edited by John Freeman. The former editor of Granta has launched a biannual journal of his own, named for himself, because -- why not? The first issue takes up the theme of arrival, with short nonfiction, fiction and poetry by Louise Erdrich, Haruki Murakami, Dave Eggers, Lydia Davis and Aleksandar Hemon, who contributes a funny and touching piece about his Bosnian immigrant parents making a home in Canada. (Grove Press, $16 paper)

TODAY IS NOT YOUR DAY, by Marian Thurm. The author of the novels "Henry in Love," "The Clairvoyant" and others, writes savvy short stories about New Yorkers who exist in some parallel universe to the films of Woody Allen or Nora Ephron. It's a world in which a teenage son might quip to his mother, "It's not that I don't love you, it's just that you're so annoying." That might be an epigram for this collection of 11 tales that examine the necessity and the impossibility of love. (SixOneSeven Books, $14 paper)

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