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Don't Tell Anyone closes with "A Handbook for Spies." This long novella follows the life of a young, and then not-so-young, man whose parents escaped the Nazis in 1930s Paris. He is a professor in love with a married woman (a girl, really) who becomes a repository for his angst. With its dead-on campus milieu, its guilt-ridden sex, its inescapable ghosts of the past, it closely recalls Busch's 1997 masterpiece, Girls. And here, too, Busch comes as near as he ever does to delivering a manifesto on love: "Truly, he thought on one of his icy drives, Kafka is the patron saint of families. He had impressed a woman in graduate school with this observation. She had dated him, and it was not impossible, he thought, that Franz Kafka, snug as a bug in a bed, was the reason. To love, Kafka taught, was to be suspicious of what you must pay for the love." There exists no finer summing-up of Busch's own writing. --Claire Dederer
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