Leave the World Behind is atmospheric and prescient: Its rhythms of comedy alternating with shock and despair mimic so much of the rhythms of life right now. That's more than enough to make it a signature novel for this blasted year.
Historian David Nasaw tells the story of more than a million people stranded in defeated Nazi Germany after World War II. Some felt they couldn't return to their home countries under Soviet control. Others were Jewish survivors who had no homes to return to. Nasaw's book is 'The Last Million.'
Race and belonging are the central themes of Yaa Gyasi's work. Her 2016 debut novel, Homegoing, about slavery, won a National Book critic's circle award, and the National Book Foundation's 5 under 35 honor.
Gyasi's new novel, Transcendent Kingdom, draws on Gyasi's life as the daughter of immigrants from Ghana.