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Obsession and lust, sex and death, preoccupy these sharp, wickedly funny novels about young women entangled in messy, obsessive relationships.
In Raven Leilani’s Luster, an instant bestseller, Edie is stumbling her way through her twenties: sharing a subpar apartment in Bushwick, clocking in and out of her admin job, making a series of inappropriate sexual choices. She is also haltingly, fitfully giving heat and air to the art that simmers inside her. And then she meets Eric, a digital archivist with a family in New Jersey, including an autopsist wife who has agreed to an open marriage—with rules. Irresistibly unruly and strikingly beautiful, razor-sharp and slyly comic, sexually charged and utterly absorbing, Luster is a portrait of a young woman trying to make sense of her life—her hunger, her anger—in a tumultuous era. It is also a haunting, aching description of how hard it is to believe in your own talent, and the unexpected influences that bring us into ourselves along the way.
Rebecca Dinerstein Knight explodes and rebuilds the campus novel in Hex, a hypnotic novel about poison, antidotes, and love. Nell Barber, an expelled PhD candidate in biological science, is exploring the fine line between poison and antidote, working alone to set a speed record for the detoxification of poisonous plants. Her mentor, Dr. Joan Kallas, is the hero of Nell’s heart. Surrounded by Nell’s ex, her best friend, her best friend’s boyfriend, and Joan’s buffoonish husband, the two scientists are tangled together at the center of a web of illicit relationships, grudges, and obsessions. All six are burdened by desire and ambition, and as they collide on the university campus, their attractions set in motion a domino effect of affairs and heartbreak.