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THE NEW GUY: NICK HARKAWAY

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Harkaway
Photograph by Clare Cornwell/Courtesy of Knopf

As the son of the spy novelist John Le Carré, Nick Harkaway could have played it safe with a quiet tale of political intrigue in the mold of his father's Cold War realism. Instead, the 35-year-old produced a fantastical first novel, The Gone-Away World (Knopf, $25), filled with ninjas, futuristic super-weapons, mutant doppelgängers, hammy jokes, and absurd fight scenes (who knew Tupperware could be a weapon?). "I was more concerned with people having fun than with being taken seriously," Harkaway says. "I had a rule for myself as well: If I was in doubt, I'd turn it up rather than take it out—there is nothing more awful than to fall flat because you didn't go far enough." Timothy Hodler

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