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Shelf Awareness

New, notable and buzz-worthy titles in literature

Andre Aciman's latest novel, “Enigma Variations

Opposites attract when two visual artists from working-class backgrounds forge an irrevocable bond in Kayla Rae Whitaker’s debut novel “The Animators.” After college, the best friends move to Brooklyn and are poised to become art world darlings with the release of their first feature, but their relationship gets complicated. A beautiful rumination on the creative process and the unparalleled intimacy (and limitations) of collaborative arts.

Beloved cultural critic and best-selling author of “Bad Feminist” Roxane Gay returns to the short story form with “Difficult Women.” Gay’s stories have pretty much won Best American Everything – from sex to mystery writing and beyond – and the collection plays to her range. Unconventional, strong-willed women from all walks of life are rendered with an emotional heft that lingers.

A failed commune on the fringe of northern Minnesota is home to Emily Fridlund’s young protagonist in her debut, “History Of Wolves” – one part coming-of-age novel, one part literary crime drama. Fridlund writes with gothic sensibilities, exploring the moral ground that lies between predator and her prey. Fans of Daniel Woodrell’s “Winter’s Bone” have a new author to watch.

Ripley’s Believe It or Not meets Lonely Planet in “Atlas Obscura: An Explorer’s Guide to The World’s Hidden Wonders” by Joshua Foer, Dylan Thuras and Ella Morton (the minds behind atlasobscura.com). A tome filled with photographs, maps and more, this coffee table monument catalogs 700 of the most bizarre places on earth: a lagoon filled with over 40 sunken ships in Japan, a continuous burning flame in the middle of the Turkmenistan desert, homemade zip lines threaded through the Colombian jungle. Curiosities abound – and they’ve all been fact-checked.

Whiting Award-winning author of “Out Of Egypt” and “Call Me by Your Name,” Andre Aciman uses his sensual style in his latest novel, “Enigma Variations,” to excavate a bisexual man’s shifting relationship to lust and desire over the course of his life. A Proustian dream that floats through time and place, from Italy to New York, through the ruins of regret, past the land of loves lost, into self-awareness and awakening. n


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