The 100 Must-Read Books of 2021
November 29, 2021 8:15 AM EST

Nigerian writer Chibundu Onuzo’s third novel follows Anna, a 48-year-old mixed-race woman at a moment of profound transformation. Her mother has recently died; she’s left her cheating husband; her adult, work-obsessed daughter is becoming harder and harder to reach—emotionally and even just on the phone. When Anna discovers her father’s 40-year-old diary among her late mother’s things—a father she never met, and who she learns was an authoritarian leader of the (fictional) West African country Bamana until he resigned 10 years earlier—she takes it as a sign to lean into the chaotic strangeness of her new life. Part of that chaos is Anna’s rediscovery of herself: In London, she was raised by her white mother, was surrounded by white friends and married a white man. Reading her father’s story in his own words, and then traveling to Bamana to search for him, Anna begins to see herself through a new lens, challenging her ideas of race, identity and politics.

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