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Roxane Gay is a culture critic and the author of Bad Feminist and the novel An Untamed State.

Alexander Chee's Edinburgh is a beautifully written book whose every word makes me ache, a story of coming of age, trauma, and redemption. When the novel opens, Fee, a 12-year-old Korean American boy in Maine, is a talented soprano in an exclusive boys choir. His life is irrevocably changed after he falls prey to chorus director and pedophile Big Eric. While Fee and his fellow victims harbor their tormenting secrets, in their shared suffering they develop intense bonds of friendship. Fee and Peter, one of Big Eric's favorite boys, grow especially close, but their relationship becomes fraught as Fee grapples with his homosexuality. This is a novel whose sense of intimacy belies its expansive themes. Chee allows us to feel the aftermath of the boys' ordeals. All pay a steep price for one man's misdeeds. Written with exquisite empathy and grace, Edinburgh tackles taboo subjects in ways that reveal how utterly human we all are, and how tough it is to forgive ourselves even for sins that weren't ours.