10 Must-Read Books For February

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After Birth, Elisa Albert (February 17)

As sharp as a fresh-cut diamond, Albert’s novel follows three months in the life of Ari, a young mother in Utrecht, New York, traumatized by the birth of her young son Walker and hoping for a female friend. When pregnant Mina, a former member of the punk rock band the Misogynists, walks into her life, she thinks she’s found something. Bright, angry, very funny, diving into uncomfortable truths about the female body and female behavior, this novel has it all — and it may contain the best portrait of Albany, New York, since William Kennedy’s last novel. — ED