Two superficially different new novels –one a long realist Third World narrative and the other a short surrealist First World story–share a common theme of circularity. The heroine of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Americanah goes on a global journey that starts and ends in Nigeria. Claire Donato’s Burial is less about death than about the implied cycle of life. The former explores temporary absences; the latter examines the most permanent absence of all. Like many great existential works of fiction from Sartre’s Nausea to Kundera’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being, each novel finds its characters in the center of a void in search of fulfillment.