Want Not

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15
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A New York Times Notable Book

“A wonderful book, and there’s no one I would not urge to read it . . . This is the work of a fluid, confident and profoundly talented writer who gets more fluid, more confident and seemingly more talented even within the book itself.” —Dave Eggers, New York Times Book Review

A highly inventive and corrosively funny story of our times, Want Not exposes three different worlds in various states of disrepair—a young freegan couple living off the grid in New York City; a once-prominent linguist, sacked at midlife by the dissolution of his marriage and his father’s losing battle with Alzheimer’s; and a self-made debt-collecting magnate, whose brute talent for squeezing money out of unlikely places has yielded him a royal existence, trophy wife included.

Want and desire propel these characters forward toward something, anything, more, until their worlds collide, briefly, randomly, yet irrevocably, in a shattering ending that will haunt readers long after the last page is turned.

“Shrewd, funny, and sometimes devastating . . . What Want Not does best, though, isn’t plotting but portraits of humanity: the small epiphanies and private hurts of every person whose life, like the detritus they produce, is as beautifully mundane and unique as a fingerprint.” —Entertainment Weekly

“An impassioned work of fiction.” —Dallas Morning News
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About the author

JONATHAN MILES’s first novel, Dear American Airlines, was named a New York Times Notable Book and a Best Book of the Year by the Los Angeles Times and the Wall Street Journal. He writes regularly for the New York Times Book Review.
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3.9
15 total
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Additional Information

Publisher
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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Published on
Nov 5, 2013
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Pages
304
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ISBN
9780544114630
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / General
Fiction / Literary
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Read Aloud
Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

Reading information

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From André Aciman, the author of Call Me by Your Name (now a major motion picture and the winner of the OscarTM for Best Adapted Screenplay) comes “a sensory masterclass, absorbing, intelligent, unforgettable” (Times Literary Supplement).

André Aciman, hailed as a writer of “fiction at its most supremely interesting” (The New York Review of Books), has written a novel that charts the life of a man named Paul, whose loves remain as consuming and as covetous throughout his adulthood as they were in his adolescence. Whether the setting is southern Italy, where as a boy he has a crush on his parents’ cabinetmaker, or a snowbound campus in New England, where his enduring passion for a girl he’ll meet again and again over the years is punctuated by anonymous encounters with men; whether he’s on a tennis court in Central Park, or on a New York sidewalk in early spring, his attachments are ungraspable, transient, and forever underwritten by raw desire—not for just one person’s body but, inevitably, for someone else’s as well.

In Enigma Variations, Aciman maps the most inscrutable corners of passion, proving to be an unsparing reader of the human psyche and a master stylist. With language at once lyrical, bare-knuckled, and unabashedly candid, he casts a sensuous, shimmering light over each facet of desire to probe how we ache, want, and waver, and ultimately how we sometimes falter and let go of those who may want to offer only what we crave from them. Ahead of every step Paul takes, his hopes, denials, fears, and regrets are always ready to lay their traps. Yet the dream of love lingers. We may not always know what we want. We may remain enigmas to ourselves and to others. But sooner or later we discover who we’ve always known we were.

“Funny, bighearted...Miles specializes in giving fully rounded humanity to characters who might elsewhere be treated as stock figures...pitch-perfect.”
— New York Times Book Review

"Miles is a writer so virtuosic that readers will feel themselves becoming better, more observant people from reading him."
— Los Angeles Review of Books

A profound new novel about a paralyzed young man’s unexplainable recovery—a stunning exploration of faith, science, mystery, and the meaning of life
 
Rendered paraplegic after a traumatic event four years ago, Cameron Harris has been living his new existence alongside his sister, Tanya, in their battered Biloxi, Mississippi neighborhood where only half the houses made it through Katrina. One stiflingly hot August afternoon, as Cameron sits waiting for Tanya during their daily run to the Biz-E-Bee convenience store, he suddenly and inexplicably rises up and out of his wheelchair.
 
In the aftermath of this “miracle,” Cameron finds himself a celebrity at the center of a contentious debate about what’s taken place. And when scientists, journalists, and a Vatican investigator start digging, Cameron’s deepest secrets—the key to his injury, to his identity, and, in some eyes, to the nature of his recovery—become increasingly endangered. Was Cameron’s recovery a genuine miracle, or a medical breakthrough? And, finding himself transformed into a symbol, how can he hope to retain his humanity?
 
Brilliantly written as closely observed journalistic reportage and filtered through a wide lens that encompasses the vibrant characters affected by Cameron’s story, Anatomy of a Miracle will be read, championed, and celebrated as a powerful story of our time, and the work of a true literary master.
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