Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
The Atlas of Forgotten Places

The Atlas of Forgotten Places

A Novel

Jenny D. Williams

Thomas Dunne Books

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From author Jenny D. Williams, a fresh new voice in fiction, comes her stunning debut novel The Atlas of Forgotten Places. Set against the backdrop of ivory smuggling and civil war in Uganda and the DR Congo, it is a story of two women from different worlds, bound in a quest to save their loved ones.

“Every page of The Atlas of Forgotten Places resonates with an intimate knowledge of life in ‘Africa’...the impossible beauty of the landscape, the depths of sorrows carried by ordinary citizens, the miraculous melding of violence and personal grace. Jenny D. Williams has written that rare thing: a page-turning adventure story that simultaneously goes deep into the heart of what it is to be human and present.” —Malla Nunn, award-winning screenwriter and author of A Beautiful Place to Die, Silent Valley, and Present Darkness

After a long career as an aid worker, Sabine Hardt has retreated to her native Germany for a quieter life. But when her American niece Lily disappears while volunteering in Uganda, Sabine must return to places and memories she once thought buried in order to find her.

In Uganda, Rose Akulu -- haunted by a troubled past with the Lord’s Resistance Army and a family torn apart by war -- is distressed when her lover Ocen vanishes without a trace. Side by side, Sabine and Rose must unravel the tangled threads that tie Lily and Ocen’s lives together—ultimately discovering that the truth of their loved ones’ disappearance is inescapably entwined to the secrets the two women carry.

The Atlas of Forgotten Places is a book that delves deep into the heart of compassion and redemption. It spans geographies and generations to lay bare the stories that connect us all.

EXCERPT

CHAPTER 1

SABINE


December 24, 2008

Marburg, Germany

All around her, the world was white and bright and hushed; a pale sky pressed upon red-roofed buildings and was pierced by...

Reviews

Praise for The Atlas of Forgotten Places

"Gritty and intricately plotted...Williams’s book paints the contours of the real-life conflict admirably, making the thrilling disappearance story relatable with nuanced characterizations and a wealth of strong subplots concerning reclaiming love, protecting family, and guarding hope for a new future when the present seems to be teetering on disaster." —Publishers Weekly

"A complex and suspenseful tale with dozens of subplots, questioning loyalty and exploring forgiveness at the individual and societal levels." —Library Journal

“Jenny D. Williams' Atlas of Forgotten Places is an extraordinary debut. Written with confidence and compassion, masterfully plotted, her characters drawn in swift, sure strokes—this was a book I could not put down.” —Marisa Handler, Nautilus Award-winning author of Loyal to the Sky

“Every page of The Atlas of Forgotten Places resonates with an intimate knowledge of life in ‘Africa’...the impossible beauty of the landscape, the depths of sorrows carried by ordinary citizens, the miraculous melding of violence and personal grace. Jenny D. Williams has written that rare thing: a page-turning adventure story that simultaneously goes deep into the heart of what it is to be human and present.” —Malla Nunn, award-winning screenwriter and author of A Beautiful Place to Die, Silent Valley, and Present Darkness

“A young American woman gone missing in Africa, her German aunt forced to revisit her own past. From these elements, Jenny Williams has produced a riveting alchemy. In the vein of Paul Bowles and Robert Stone, The Atlas of Forgotten Places is part political thriller, part love story, always attuned to matters of the heart. It’s a splendid debut.” —Joshua Henkin, author of The World Without You, Matrimony, and Swimming Across the Hudson

“I think Jenny Williams is a wonderfully gifted writer, who is at the beginning of a long and distinguished career.” —Richard Bausch, author of Peace and Before, During, After, winner of the PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence, and a Guggenheim fellow

“A beautiful, heartbreaking story of civil war, family secrets, lost love and found hope. Unforgettable.” —Lian Dolan, Los Angeles Times bestselling author

"The Atlas of Forgotten Places is a beautifully written, all-engulfing novel about our responsibility for each other and the faltering ways in which we try to help." —Erika Mailman, author of The Witch's Trinity

"The Atlas of Forgotten Places is a thriller that sweeps the reader into intrigue, adventure, and mystery. In the tradition of socially influential writers, from Shakespeare to Graham Greene, Jenny Williams employs exciting fiction to convey truths about the political, corporate, and economic systems that impact us all." —John Perkins, New York Times bestselling author of The New Confessions of an Economic Hit Man and The Secret History of the American Empire

"The narrative moves between Sabine and Rose in this suspenseful, compelling story set in a perilous region that many readers may have only heard about on the news." —Shelf Awareness

"Williams has created characters the reader will bond with immediately and a narrative that grips the imagination with a vital quest across the boundaries of countries and of the heart...An extraordinary debut, written with a masterful sense of plot and pacing and a keen understanding of the thorny world of western intervention in the developing world...A stunning combination of intrigue and despair, redemption and love." —Washington Independent Review of Books

Reviews from Goodreads

About the author

Jenny D. Williams

JENNY D. WILLIAMS has lived in the U.S., Uganda, and Germany. She holds an MFA from Brooklyn College and a BA from UC Berkeley. Her award-winning fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and illustrations have been published in The Sun Magazine, Vela, and Ethical Traveler, as well as several anthologies. A former Teachers & Writers Collaborative fellow and recipient of an Elizabeth George Foundation grant for emerging writers, she currently lives in Seattle with her husband and dog. The Atlas of Forgotten Places is her first novel.

Jenny D. Williams

(c) Taylor Yoelin

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From the Publisher

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