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Whiting Award winner Nadia Owusu’s memoir recounts a life marked by instability. Her Armenian American mother left when she was 2 years old and popped back into her life intermittently. Her Ghanaian father’s job with the United Nations required constant moving between Europe and Africa, meaning they never settled in one place long enough to feel rooted. Her sense of home relied on her father’s presence, but he died when she was 13. Aftershocks is about finding one’s footing, the titular metaphor describing the lingering effects of catastrophe. In Owusu’s case, that catastrophe isn’t just her father’s death; it’s also the secrets she later uncovers that suggest she might not have known him as well as she thought she did.

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