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THE DIVE FROM CLAUSEN'S PIER Ann Packer (Vintage, $14) Carrie runs out on her fiance after he's paralyzed in a diving accident, but we didn't hold that against her: EW named Packer's affecting hit novel one of 2002's best.

EMPORIUM Adam Johnson (Penguin, $13) As story titles like ''Teen Sniper,'' ''The Eighth Sea,'' ''The Death-Dealing Cassini Satellite,'' and ''The Jughead of Berlin'' suggest, Johnson's debut collection is funny, dark, and fantastical.

FUNNYMEN Ted Heller (Scribner, $15) Funnyman Heller -- son of Joseph -- kills with this sprawling fake oral history of Fountain and Bliss, a Catskills comedy duo from the '40s and '50s.

Originally posted Apr 18, 2003 Published in issue #705 Apr 18, 2003 Order article reprints
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