One of the more polarising novels on this year’s Man Booker Prize shortlist, Rachel Kushner’s portrayal of life inside a women’s correctional facility is America is immersive, unsparing and throngs with multiple voices and characters. At its centre lies the story of Romy Hall, permanently separated form the outside world (and her seven-year-old son) as she serves two life sentences. Audacious in its imagining and refreshingly unsentimental in its telling, the book is a realistic and damning portrayal of American society and its justice system.