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Nathan Harris’s debut novel made an immediate splash—Oprah picked it for her book club, President Barack Obama named it in his list of summer favorites and it was long-listed for the Booker Prize. It’s easy to see why. The sprawling work of historical fiction, set in a fictional Georgia town at the end of the Civil War, is impossible to put down. It follows a cast of fully realized characters on interconnected journeys: Prentiss and Landry, brothers recently freed by the Emancipation Proclamation, are working to save enough money to reunite with their mother up north; their employer, George Walker, is mourning the death of his son; two white Confederate soldiers are hiding an affair. It’s an ambitious story about humanity, prejudice and resilience, and the question at its core—how does a nation split by violently opposing beliefs come together?—is as urgent as ever.

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