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Anuk Arudpragasam’s richly evocative and graceful novel A Passage North captures a young man’s journey through war-torn northern Sri Lanka as he travels to attend the funeral of his grandmother’s caretaker. Along the way, the protagonist explores histories both personal and national: the memories of an intense romance he shared with a woman who has just contacted him out of the blue and the political reverberations of the 30-year civil war that has wracked his country. A Passage North is a haunting work about the power of memory and how we learn to see the world.

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