Gothic Family Drama At 'The Border Of Paradise'

Esme Weijun Wang's novel — packed with family secrets, betrayals, a decaying house and a dramatic fire — could have seemed pulpy in lesser hands. But her restrained, beautiful prose makes it work.

WATCH: Marbles Fight To The Bitter End For Victory

Take a break from the news for a totally compelling, entirely gravity-driven race that captured hearts and minds on the Internet this week. Plus: literary parodies, because this is NPR.

The 'Regional Office' Doesn't Quite Deliver

Manuel Gonzales' ambitious debut novel has a great hook — a top secret organization battling aliens, zombies and evil masterminds — but dry humor and spirited dialogue get lost in a convoluted plot.

Make Way For Celebration: These Ducklings Are Turning 75

Robert McCloskey was a young artist when he brought a crate of ducks back to his studio apartment. Since then, the plucky Mallard family (Jack, Lack, Mack, et al.) has charmed its way into our hearts.

For Kafka, Even Beer Came With Baggage

Many of Kafka's darkest comedies appear rooted in the cowering relationship he had with his father. Their only true bonding was over beer.