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Peter C. Baker



Publication Date

May 31, 2022


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An urgent, fiercely intelligent debut novel about two couples, an ocean apart–one wounded by a war crime, the other just starting to reckon with being implicated in it…. An insightful book about the slow, zigzag work of healing that nonetheless moves at the speed of a thriller (Caleb Crain, author of Necessary Errors).

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 Moroccan black site where he is imprisoned. She moves as inconspicuously as possible through her modest life, doing her best to avoid the whispered curiosity of her community.

Meanwhile, Mel–once an activist–is trying to get the suburban conservatives of her small North Carolina town to support her school board initiatives, and struggles to fill her empty nest. It’s a steady, settled life, except perhaps for the affair she can’t 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 CIA’s extraordinary renditions–including that of Amira’s husband–both women face wrenching questions that will shape the rest of their lives.

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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