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On the Shelf: What to Read This February

DuJour‘s picks for the best releases of the month

"In Other Words" by Jhumpa Lahiri

“In Other Words” by Jhumpa Lahiri

In Other Words 
By Jhumpa Lahiri

Pulitzer Prize winner Lahiri returns with an autobiographical tale of her move to Rome in order to immerse herself in the Italian language, the mastery of which had long eluded her. In Other Words is something of a victory lap, written in her new tongue and translated to English by Ann Goldstein—something of a interpretation superstar thanks to her own work on the Elena Ferrante novels.

"West of Eden: An American Place" by Jean Stein

“West of Eden: An American Place” by Jean Stein

West of Eden: An American Place 
By Jean Stein 

This oral history from the author of Edie: American Girl charts how Los Angeles became Los Angeles, and pulls off the feat of being both educational and completely engrossing thanks to warts-and-all stories of California’s transformative powers as they relate to larger-than-life characters from oil baron Edward Doheny to Stein’s own father, MCA founder Jules Stein. 

"The Queen of the Night" by Alexander Chee

“The Queen of the Night” by Alexander Chee

The Queen of the Night 
By Alexander Chee 

When Lilliet Berne, the toast of the Paris Opera, finally lands her dream role—one written especially for her—her elation is short-lived. In this sweeping, engrossing second novel from Chee, whose Edinburgh came out in 2002, the diva discovers her coveted part is based on the secret past she thought she’s hidden from the haut monde she’s made her life amongst.

"The Lost Time Accidents" by John Wray

“The Lost Time Accidents” by John Wray

The Lost Time Accidents 
By John Wray

A doomed love affair, a century-old secret and a protagonist who finds himself untethered from the laws of time (seriously) are at the heart of this new novel from Wray, the award-festooned author of Lowboy. While the story touches on dynastic drama and the supernatural, what shines are the notes of screwball adventure Wray sends hero Waldy Tolliver on during the course of nearly 500 delightful pages. 

"Tender" by Belinda McKeon

“Tender” by Belinda McKeon

By Belinda McKeon

This second novel from McKeon—an internationally produced playwright whose 2012 debut Solace won the Faber prize—follows two young friends, a college student and a free-spirited artist—through the whirlwind of 1990s Dublin and the equally wild intricacies of their unforgettable relationship. 

"The High Mountains of Portugal" by Yann Martel

“The High Mountains of Portugal” by Yann Martel

The High Mountains of Portugal 
By Yann Martel 

Martel, the author of the Man Booker Prize-winning The Life of Pi, returns with a new novel that follows three generations of Portuguese men, a lost artifact that could change the world and all of the love, loss and adventure you might expect to come along with it.