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  The Little Prince has enchanted generations of readers with its story of a young boy whose quiet life on a small asteroid is disturbed with the appearance of a proud rose. A meditation on love and solitude, the parable doubles as a love letter of sorts from its author, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, to his wife, Consuelo Suncin Sandoval de Gómez. Already a twice-widowed woman upon their first meeting, Consuelo found herself the instant object of the famous aviator's affection, hesitantly accepting his proposal a few days later. Though deeply passionate, their marriage suffered from Saint-Exupéry's adventurous lifestyle in the air and on social ground. Consuelo's long-undiscovered autobiography, The Tale of the Rose, delves into her ardent yet tempestuous relationship with the uxorious Saint-Exupéry. In writing her own love letter to her husband, Consuelo proves the simple secret of The Little Prince: "It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."
 
  Early in John Irving's newest novel, The Fourth Hand, reporter Patrick Wallingford has his left hand bitten off by a lion in front of millions of television viewers. The story that ensues from this almost-surreal, "When Animals Attack"-premise--reminiscent of the ursine motorcyclist-run-amok in Irving's Hotel New Hampshire--is as realistic and immediate as the author's best-loved work to date.
 
   Entering Normal is Anne D. LeClaire's story of an intergenerational friendship between Rose and Opal: the former a fifty year old woman grieving the death of her only son, the latter a twenty year old woman fighting for custody of her young child.
 
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