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R.O. Kwon. Riverhead, $28 (224p) ISBN 978-0-593-19002-9

A female friendship takes on mythological and tragic dimensions in the haunting sophomore novel from Kwon (The Incendiaries). Jin Han, a Korean American photographer and Christian apostate, is at a crossroads. On the surface, everything seems placid: she claims that she and her diffident but charming husband, Philip, don’t want children, and that she’s happy with their found family of arty New Yorkers, who compensate for the parents she barely knows in Seoul. However, Jin believes she’s cursed by the unquiet spirit of an ancestor, a kisaeng paid to keep men company, who fell in love with the firstborn son of an illustrious Korean clan and died vowing revenge against the family that denied the couple’s love. When Jin meets Lidija Jung, a star ballerina absent from the stage following a mysterious leg injury, the two forge an immediate connection. Their chemistry fuels an obsession in Jin, and as the women’s growing intimacy begins to jeopardize her career, identity, and marriage, she considers her generational trauma and wonders, could Lidija be the kisaeng’s revenge? Hypnotic and disquieting, this slow burn will stick in readers’ minds. (May)