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When C is 12 years old, she and her little brother Wayne go swimming and a terrible accident occurs. Wayne drowns—and his body is never found. Years later, the boy’s disappearance has torn apart his family, and his sister is left reeling. In her adulthood, C believes she sees a grown-up Wayne everywhere she goes, from subway cars to restaurants. One of those Waynes, it turns out, is very real. But is it her Wayne? In her follow-up to her 2019 debut The Old Drift, Namwali Serpell unravels a haunting narrative full of mystery. But it’s Serpell’s unsparing depiction of C’s grief that makes The Furrows so affecting. As C is forced to relive the most traumatic moment of her life, over and over again, Serpell creates a wrenching portrait of a woman reckoning with loss. —Annabel Gutterman

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