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7

TUESDAY

Practice regional lit with even a scrap of sophistication and you can count on your publisher to distill it into dumb, condescending cover art. Charles Baxter has said that his “imagination’s home is the Midwest,” so perhaps the warmly glowing photograph of a white picket fence that appears on the cover of his new book, Saul and Patsy, was unavoidable. But Baxter’s novel is hardly a portrait of provincial bliss. Saul and Patsy, both recent graduates of Northwestern, move to the sober, close-knit burg of Five Oaks, Mich. Outwardly, they seem like conventional characters: Saul teaches high school, Patsy is a bank officer, and they love each other very much. But when Baxter unleashes the couple’s unconventional natures on the equally curious people of Five Oaks, not a single picket fence is left standing. Baxter reads at 7 p.m. (see City List for other dates) at Politics and Prose, 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW. Free. (202) 364-1919.

(Mike DeBonis)