Batman: Detective Comics (Volume 2) The Victim Syndicate (Rebirth) by James Tynion IV

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“You destroyed my life. You destroyed all of our lives. We are the victim syndicate. We’re here to return the favor.”

— James Tynion IV, Batman: Detective Comics (Volume 2) The Victim Syndicate

    James Tynion IV continues his unexpectedly entertaining run of Detective Comics with volume 2, The Victim Syndicate. Taking place directly after the unfortunate events in Detective Comics (Volume 1) Rise of the Batmen, the story starts off by serving us an aftermath assessment for each character in the newly formed squad under Batman and Batwoman’s wings. Inevitably, the events that lead to the loss of a comrade have taken a huge toll on every one—some more than others—and things seem to be a lot more fragile for everyone. Questions about their purposes in life and their motivations on a daily basis are put through the blender and mixed in with a hefty amount of doubt. There’s nothing like a new group of freaky and shady characters to make matters a bit more dark and complicated. This story arc introduces fans to a brand new set of villains who have had a grudge for quite some time and are ready to react in order to see change in Gotham.
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Legion Season 1 Episode 1 First Impressions

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Summary: A troubled young man battling mental illness wonders if the visions he experiences are real following a strange encounter with a fellow patient.

Director: Noah Hawley (for this episode)

Writers: Noah Hawley (creator and writer for this episode), Chris Claremont (based on the Marvel comics by) and Bill Sienkiewicz (based on the Marvel comics by)

Stars: Dan Stevens, Rachel Keller, Aubrey Plaza, and more.

    Mind-bending, unconventional and absolutely stylish, Legion (2017-) is every X-Men fan’s dream come true. For those of you who didn’t know, Legion is the first X-Men live-action TV series aired on FX. Based on David Haller, also known as Legion, and created by Chris Claremont and Bill Sienkiewicz, the show explores the character’s mental struggles as he tries to understand his own mind. While the show isn’t in continuity with the X-Men movies, Legion still shares the same universe, but lives and breaths in a parallel reality. There is but one element that connects these two worlds and it lies in David Haller’s parents, a secret well-kept throughout the show. Finding out who that is is only half the fun. However, the show will brilliantly clue you in to the big revelation, but fans of X-Men will already know the answer and binge this show for its mere masterful story-telling and visual craftiness.
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The Perfect Stranger by Megan Miranda

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    After reading All the Missing Girls, it was only a question of time before I got my hands on Megan Miranda’s latest thriller. The Perfect Stranger is her second psychological suspense novel and had the unlucky fate to surpass its predecessor. While both stories are stand-alone novels, it is the originality and the masterful story-telling of All the Missing Girls that set the bar high for this new story. All the Missing Girls was a completely new and mind-baffling story that will probably always be used as a reference when authors will deliver their stories backwards, but Megan Miranda’s newest release is still a brilliantly-crafted, character-oriented mystery story that will keep you guessing till the end. This is the story of Leah Stevens as she leaves her reporter life in Boston due to a horrible incident in order to embrace a fresh new start in a small town alongside her trusted roommate, Emmy Grey. Things however don’t go as planned as Emmy disappears out of the blue and Leah starts to wonder how much she truly knew about her friend.
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Ragdoll by Daniel Cole

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    While I haven’t been on a lot of roller coasters in my life, I can assure you that this was one ride that never wanted to slow down! Daniel Cole’s debut thriller is the story of Detective William ‘Wolf’ Fawkes and it is action-packed from cover to cover. Reinstated to his post after a controversial case surrounding the Cremation Killer, Wolf returns to duty with a case that will leave anyone completely baffled. It is upon arriving at a crime scene featuring one body, but six different victims, that the ride reaches its peak. This is the beginning of a deranged individual that will forever be known as the Ragdoll Killer. Things however doesn’t stop getting weirder from there. It’s one thing to find pieces of different bodies sewn together, but it’s another thing when Wolf’s reporter ex-wife arrives with photographs of a yet-to-be released crime scene and a list of names with dates on which the so-called Ragdoll Killer plans to take their lives. Ragdoll is a fantastic debut that promises to deliver fans of crime novels and thriller a brand new detective to follow in his adventures.
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Batman: Night of the Monster Men (Rebirth) by Steve Orlando

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“People need to see we’re all in this together. No matter what uniform we wear.”

— Steve Orlando, Batman: Night of the Monster Men

    You know what I despise the most about these crossover events nowadays? It’s this tingling feeling that I get every time I jump into them. That feeling that screams that one of their biggest intentions isn’t to deliver a series-wide major event that remains solid both in story and artwork, but a cash-grab attempt to get people to check out the other series that they might not be following. Night of the Monster Men is a crossover event that has its repercussions felt throughout Detective Comics (Rebirth) , Nightwing (Rebirth) and Batman (Rebirth) runs. Being the first crossover event part of the Rebirth era of DC Comics, hope for amelioration in regards of quality was much expected, yet failure was all that rose from this chaos.

    It was unquestionably scheduled to be spread around Halloween to get people in that childish horror vibe, but it also remains a retelling of the original Matt Wagner story of the Monster Men. This crossover event takes place between Batman: I am Gotham (Volume 1) and Batman: I am Suicide (Volume 2), between Detective Comics: Rise of the Batmen (Volume 1) and Detective Comics: The Victim Syndicate (Volume 2), and between Nightwing: Better Than Batman (Volume 1) and Nightwing: Bludhaven (Volume 2). Stretching over 6 issues, two from each of these series, Batman: Night of the Monster Men brings Batman, his friends and Gotham together in a fight against the supernatural.
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Red Sister by Mark Lawrence

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“It is important, when killing a nun, to ensure that you bring an army of sufficient size.”

— Mark Lawrence, Red Sister

    Dear Mr. Lawrence—can I call you Mark? I’ve heard a lot about you and the books you’ve written. The Broken Empire trilogy as well as the Red Queen’s War trilogy have known nothing but praise. It’s hard for someone to look away from something that shine’s like a diamond on a sunny day, even if it’s miles away. While I’m itching to dive right into them, I also managed to get my hands on your latest masterpiece. Yes, I must say it is a masterpiece. I’m not one to boost the ego of people just because I can, but Red Sister is the beginning of something extraordinary. I might not have read everything you’ve written yet, but boy can you write. Your book has the power to steal a reader’s soul and compel it to follow a path filled with peace, patience and serenity. It brings readers to transcend time and space in order to live a whole new life through the eyes of a child. This isn’t just a story that offers you the choice to go somewhere far and beyond our imagination. This is a story that imposes you to welcome its world and all of its elegance. Walking into the worlds you write makes us glow with bliss and forget about our own stresses, problems and responsibilities. This is a story that makes you feel warm, invited and belonging to a convent. Mark, you’ve given us an epic fantasy story that will enthrall its readers to characters, settings and a lore that have never been done so meticulously, and with so much perfection. Red Sister is the next book that anyone and everyone should read.
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The Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck

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    Jessica Shattuck looks into one of the most devastating time period that mankind has ever known through a completely fresh scope. Set before, during and after World War II, The Women in the Castle brings to light the story of three women whose lives have known different facets of the war that raged on over a couple of long and dreadful years. It is under the same roof of Burg Lingenfels, a castle that was once known to host highly placed Germans, that the paths of these women will cross and their stories are unwrapped, stripped to their bones and exhibited in a shocking, yet beautiful manner. Jessica Shattuck brings to life three characters with their own personalities, own tragedies, own dreams and own decisions. By alternating between characters, she offers us a mesmerizing and detailed look at the highly contrasting visions that individuals shared during the war. Through impeccable writing, she investigates the thought processes of people who had followed ideals that were hammered into them by the culture that represented them and cleverly exposes societal values that were spread among the masses. From discerning good and bad to love and hate, The Women in the Castle is the story of three women who have fought their own war during the toughest moments of World War II and how they reconcile with their own past words and actions.
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Marvel’s Iron Fist Season 1 Episode 1 First Impressions

Summary: After being presumed dead, Danny Rand returns home to New York after fifteen years, only to find things aren’t as they were.

Director: John Dahl (for this episode)

Writers: Roy Thomas (based on the Marvel comics by), Gil Kane (based on the Marvel comics by), Roy Thomas (creator and writer for this episode)

Stars: Finn Jones, Jessica Henwick, Tom Pelphrey, Jessica Stroup, and more.

   Netflix and Marvel have been pouring out superhero shows for quite some time now. Every character introduced added a whole new story that hinted to a bigger and unknown enemy that would emerge from its darkness when the time will come. Just like the Avengers in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the Justice League in the DC Extended Universe or the Legends of Tomorrow in the DC TV shows, these Netflix shows have been preparing fans for the arrival of the Defenders, a neighbourhood-level team of superheroes built around the four heroes that have so far gotten their first seasons out on Netflix: Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist.

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The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

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“The finest of pleasures are always the unexpected ones.”

— Erin Morgenstern, The Night Circus

    Hold on to your hats, my friends, The Night Circus is coming to town and it has brought its magic along with it. I started this book without the slightest clue of what I was dipping my toe into. It didn’t take me long to realize that my whole mind was submerged in a star-filled mystical world where anything is possible if you hold your arms wide open and let the enchantment embrace your mind and body. Erin Morgenstern’s novel is a visual experience that will haunt your imagination like none other books have done so yet. Its intricate attention to details stimulates your senses into believing you’re a rêveur who’s been up all night until the arrival of Le Cirque des Rêves. It holds onto your gaze like a star-filled night and bestows upon you the desire to smile, to discover, to vow your life to a circus that took form through written words. The Night Circus is the story of Celia and Marco. These two individuals who have been bound to a challenge forced upon them by their masters since a very young age, will soon go face to face as the circus serve as their venue, their battlefield. It is their ignorance of how the victor is decided that the tale shifts from a competition to a collaboration, one that will lead them into an unexpected love story set in a magical ambience.
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Invisible Monsters by Chuck Palahniuk

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“The one you love and the one who loves you are never, ever the same person.”

— Chuck Palahniuk, Invisible Monsters

    If I told you that Invisible Monsters was supposed to be Chuck Palahniuk’s first novel, before Fight Club were to ever happen, but was rejected by publishers for being too disturbing, would you believe me? Countless people have found themselves falling head over heals in love with this novel to the point of calling it Palahniuk’s best work of fiction and their own favourite book of all time. While Fight Club became a world-wide classic piece of literature and one of the most critically-acclaimed masterpiece in cinema, Invisible Monsters has all the ingredients necessary to blow your minds away just as effortlessly. The story is told by an unnamed narrator who’s had a freak accident on the highway that left her face horribly disfigured (goodbye jaw). Once a fashion model that caught the eye of every individual that crossed paths with her, now she struggles to be seen and loses sight of her own purpose in life. It’s upon meeting Brandy Alexander, also known as the Queen Supreme, a woman who undergoes more surgeries than you could count on your fingers to become the most beautiful woman alive, that the narrator learns some of the most valuable lessons regarding identity and love. Invisible Monsters is not your ordinary novel. It is one of the most artistic and unorthodox work of fiction that you’ll ever come across in a sea of books.
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One of the Boys by Daniel Magariel | Read-Along

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    Narrated by a twelve-year old boy, One of the Boys is the story of a shattered family. Emotional and absolutely riveting, Daniel Magariel’s debut novel immerses you into the mind of a child who simply wants to join his father and older brother on their plan of starting a new life away from their mother. There’s nothing more important for our unnamed narrator than to be one of the boys. Winning the war was only the first step to starting over in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Things however are not what they seem when the psychological and physical abuse by the father are about to become a routine ordeal for these children. The story presents us the evolution of two kids as they try to adapt to their new situation, overcome the new challenges of a motherless life and please a father who’s habits become much more evident and destructive. Buddy-read with Trang, One of the Boys has become one of those short yet mesmerizing books of the year. With an ending that had us in awe, we can definitely say that this novel is one that should be read with caution.
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Cinedote Review – Logan (2017)

Summary: In the near future, a weary Logan cares for an ailing Professor X in a hide out on the Mexican border. But Logan’s attempts to hide from the world and his legacy are up-ended when a young mutant arrives, being pursued by dark forces.

Director: James Mangold

Writers: James Mangold (story and screenplay), Scott Frank (screenplay), and Michael Green (screenplay)

Stars: Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Dafne Keen, Boyd Holbrook, Stephen Merchant, and more!

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   One last time. If this news hasn’t spread fast enough, let me be the bearer of bad news, my friend. Logan (2017) is Hugh Jackman’s last appearance as Wolverine. Some will see this as a source of pleasure and a reason to throw a party, while others will find sadness and great depression at the thought of losing the only Wolverine they had ever known and loved throughout all of the 20th Century Fox X-Men movies. After 17 years of claw action and shining moments, Logan brings fans the third and final installment in the Wolverine spin-off movies. While Logan (2017) might be the last chapter, it can easily be watched as a stand-alone creation. However, I’d strongly recommend going through all the adventures that Wolverine has been through to be able to truly understand his background, to feel the weight of the history of a character who has had his mind and body ravaged, and to share the heavy emotions that submerges Logan (2017). As disappointing as X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009) and The Wolverine (2013) were, fans should not stay clear of the third movie as Hugh Jackman brings out one of his best career performances in one of the most astonishing superhero movie released yet.
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Batman: Detective Comics (Volume 1) Rise of the Batmen (Rebirth) by James Tynion IV

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“Welcome to boot camp. Keep up if you can.”

— James Tynion IV, Batman: Detective Comics (Volume 1) Rise of the Batmen

    James Tynion IV did a great job in making this first volume in his Rebirth series worthwhile. While Rise of the Batmen wasn’t the most brilliant and never-before-seen story, it still managed to deliver something that made some sense and shows a creative team that wisely utilizes the quicker release of these shorter Rebirth comic issues. Containing issues #934 to #940, this volume sets things clear regarding its direction. It is far from being focused on just Batman, it is the story of a whole new Batman family while putting the spotlight on a specific character for each volume. I felt like this first volume was essentially more focused on Batwoman by relaying a sort-of origin story for the character. In fact, the story explored her character a lot more and solidified her position in the squad. Having plenty of occasions to shine, her character is set as the new leader to a group of individuals that will trained under her wings in order to face an enemy that they have yet to uncover.
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The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

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“Anyway, I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all. Thousands of little kids, and nobody’s around – nobody big, I mean – except me. And I’m standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff – I mean if they’re running and they don’t look where they’re going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That’s all I do all day. I’d just be the catcher in the rye and all. I know it’s crazy, but that’s the only thing I’d really like to be.”

— J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye

    Everyone is a goddamn phony. It’s almost impossible to finish this book without having that sentence engraved in your thoughts, forever. The Catcher in the Rye was one of my most surprising reading experiences yet. It’s not your conventional young adult story. It is a book that has known censorship before embracing immense fame. It’s popularity grew at an exponential speed and ended up getting incredible praise among teenagers. How? It was all in Holden Caufield, the protagonist of The Catcher in the Rye, and how so many adolescents were able to relate with him. This story is a glimpse into the life of Holden Caufield. He narrates the events, one after the other, and puts forth his entire thought process in black and white. After learning that he once again got kicked out of high school, Holden Caufield decides to follow his gut feeling and takes a trip to New York City. Through these events, readers uncover a child who’s simply falling into adulthood. In this story marinating in a theme of coming of age, Holden Caufield is an elegy for adolescents. It’s through his confusion, his angst, his pain, his pleasures and his desires that we see his struggle to remain a child, yet swimming in a world of adults.
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Batman (Volume 2) I Am Suicide by Tom King (Rebirth)

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“You are happy. You are brave. You can always stop.”

— Tom King, Batman Rebirth (Volume 2) I Am Suicide

    Following the events of I Am Gotham, this volume builds itself around the formation of a Suicide Squad and its task of capturing a certain person of interest that can save Gotham Girl from her predicament. The last two issues also features a special two-part story that embarks in the love-hate, and very complex, relationship between Batman and Catwoman. I solemnly swear that this is a step-up from Tom King’s first volume, but I still feel like the story had issues at several moments, hence dragging my overall enjoyment downhill. Although every official website indicates that issues 9 to 15 are the only ones included in this volume, I thought I might as well throw in the Annual #1 that was released midway throughout this storyarc. I’ll rectify this, if it ends up being wrong, when Annual #1 gets integrated in a future collection (if ever).
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Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

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“Maybe ever’body in the whole damn world is scared of each other.”

— John Steinbeck, Of Mice and Men

    We’re all bound to hear about Mr. Steinbeck and his famous and critically acclaimed novels at least once in our lives. Of Mice and Men figures among his most popular works of fiction and there’s no denying that the praise it has received over time is very well deserved. This story follows the search for labour of both George Milton and Lennie Small. While George is a small, but smart individual who’s patience is always tested by his huge, loyal, but simple-minded friend Lennie, George’s continued support and friendship puts him in a tight spot far more often than he would have wished for. It’s upon arriving at a ranch in California’s Salinas Valley that their luck had changed and a job for both of them was offered. However, things are not as simple as it seems since Lennie’s inability to control his inhuman strength and to adapt and comprehend people and his surrounding is liable to wreak havoc. Of Mice and Men is a relatively short story that contains countless themes ready to assault every reader’s conscience and leave them bewildered and saddened by the end of the story.
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Kill the Father by Sandrone Dazieri

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    Imagine parachuting off an airplane. From the moment the doors are opened till your two feet touch the ground, there simply isn’t an instant where you can stop to take a breath or pause to embrace the excitement. Kill the Father by Sandrone Dazieri delivers a just as electrifying read with his first American debut. This page-turner is a chunk of enthralling police procedural. Translated by Anthony Shugaar, Kill the Father gives any crime novel enthusiast exactly what they crave for. The story follows two individuals carrying completely different backgrounds that still affect their present day in so many ways. First, we have Deputy Captain Colomba Caselli who is currently still on leave after surviving a horrible disaster and, second, we have Dante Torre, a man who was trapped inside a concrete silo by a person who proclaimed himself as The Father during more than a decade of his childhood. Dante Torre has since then become a consultant with hypersensory perception for countless specialists. After the discovery of a horrendous crime scene, these two individuals are brought together on a mystery that will soon expand into a disaster of a much grander scale.
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Q&A With Sandrone Dazieri

If you haven’t already. Check out my review of Sandrone Dazieri’s Kill The Father!

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  1. Hello Sandrone. For those who don’t know you already, could you tell us about yourself and your background?

I was born in ’64 in Cremona, a small town of fifty thousand inhabitants in the heart of Northern Italy, surrounded by grain fields, the same city that I put into the darkest chapters of Kill the Father. At fourteen, I decided that I wanted to know better the world and I began to travel the country working as a cook helper. After I stopped being a chef in 1994, I changed many trades (electrician, bouncers, porter …) until I landed in a magazine as a proofreader. After a few years I became a redactor and I started writing reviews of detective novels and science fiction. In 1999 I published my first novel.

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The Gunslinger (The Dark Tower #1) by Stephen King

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“The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.”

— Stephen King, The Gunslinger

    This is my first experience of Stephen King’s work. I am myself surprised that it isn’t one of his pure horror stories, but I also had a feeling I was going to end up exploring the Dark Tower universe before anything else. With an adaptation in the work, starring both Matthew McConaughey and Idris Elba—two formidable actors, might I add—I vowed I’d get my hands on this series before indulging the movie. The first book in this series, The Gunslinger, introduces us to two mysterious figures. While their motives and their personalities remain ambiguous right from the beginning, you quickly get a grasp of who you’re dealing with as you tag along in their cruel and enchanted adventure. One thing ultimately drives this story forward and it all lies in the gunslinger pursuing the man in black through a desolate universe. Poetic and enigmatic, the first book in the Dark Tower series is a character-driven story that lays out a world that has yet to be fully understood.
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The Spider and the Fly by Claudia Rowe

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“Well, well, Claudia. Can I call you Claudia? I’ll have to give it to you, when confronted at least you’re honest, as honest as any reporter… You want to go into the depths of my mind and into my past. I want a peek into yours. It is only fair, isn’t it?”

— Kendall Francois

    The Spider and the Fly is a blend of memoir and true crime. You can’t help but wonder how it could be possible. Maybe the writer is the criminal? That would definitely would be interesting, but this book has something just as bewitching. This piece of literature is journalist Claudia Rowe’s first book in which she chronicles her connection with serial killer Kendall Francois. Working for the New York Times in Poughkeepsie, New York, Claudia Rowe’s fascination for the mystery behind the discovery of a serial killer who is arrested for the murder of eight prostitutes stashed in the attic and the basement of his home has brought her to embark on an ambitious and dangerous adventure. In fact, her curiosity brings her to maintain a four year mail correspondence with a serial killer behind bars. While her decision to decipher a serial killer’s motive to take lives also brings ruin to her own life, The Spider and the Fly discloses a journalist’s road to self-discovery and her attempt to understanding her deepest pains and passions.
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