Karen Karbo
March 07, 2008 AT 05:00 AM EST

Based loosely on D.H. Lawrence’s 1924 pilgrimage to Taos, N.M., where he hoped to create an artists’ utopia, Amy Boaz’s diamond-cut debut, A Richer Dust, follows Doll, a shy, near-deaf painter who accompanies brooding philosopher Abe Bronstone and his querulous German wife, Vera, from London to Taos. Boaz moves with brisk authority between three time periods: Doll’s aristocratic upbringing in pre-WWI London, her ill-fated, impulsive voyage with Abe and Vera, and her spirited dotage, where she finds love with an eccentric younger man. A superb stylist, Boaz ferrets out the sometimes sinister nature of good intentions. A

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