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The latest novel by 2021 Nobel Prize in Literature winner Abdulrazak Gurnah to be released in the U.S. doesn’t fit neatly into one genre. Afterlives, originally published in the U.K. in 2020, follows the lives of four characters in East Africa in the early 1900s as they grapple with the devastating consequences of colonization. What ensues is a bruising love story, a multi-generational epic, and a narrative about the brutalities of war. Gurnah was determined to set Afterlives in this landscape and to bring attention to a moment that he felt has long been overlooked by history. “I also wanted to say something about the resolution of people to survive,” he told TIME earlier this year. “How people retrieve their lives after trauma, how people come through those things and organize and shape themselves.” —Annabel Gutterman

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