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"An urgent, exciting, fiercely intelligent debut novel that goes deep inside the daily lives of two women-one in Rome, the other in North Carolina-to tell a story about the powerful interconnections, both personal and political, unseen and inexorable, that exist beneath the surface of our troubled world. For years, Amira-a recent convert to Islam living in Rome-has gone to work, said her prayers, and struggled to piece together her husband's redacted letters from the CIA black site where he is being detained. She moves as inconspicuously as possible through her modest life, doing her best to avoid the whispered curiosity of her community. Meanwhile, Mel-who thinks of herself as a lapsed activist-is trying to get the suburban conservatives of her small North Carolina town to support her school board initiatives, and struggling to fill her empty nest. Her life is uneventful, except perhaps for the affair she can't quite admit she's having. As these narratives unfurl thousands of miles apart, they begin to resonate like the two sides of a tuning fork. And when Mel learns that a local charter airline serves as a front for the US government's extraordinary renditions-including that of Amira's husband-these two women's lives seem destined to collide. Written with piercing insight and artistry, Planes is a singular, assured, and indelible first novel that announces a major new voice"--
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