Southland by Nina Revoyr

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"[A]n absolutely compelling story of family and racial tragedy. Revoyr’s novel is honest in detailing southern California’s brutal history, and honorable in showing how families survived with love and tenacity and dignity."
—Susan Straight, author of Highwire Moon

Southland brings us a fascinating story of race, love, murder and history, against the backdrop of an ever-changing Los Angeles. A young Japanese-American woman, Jackie Ishida, is in her last semester of law school when her grandfather, Frank Sakai, dies unexpectedly. While trying to fulfill a request from his will, Jackie discovers that four African-American boys were killed in the store Frank owned during the Watts Riots of 1965. Along with James Lanier, a cousin of one of the victims, Jackie tries to piece together the story of the boys’ deaths. In the process, she unearths the long-held secrets of her family’s history.

Southland depicts a young woman in the process of learning that her own history has bestowed upon her a deep obligation to be engaged in the larger world. And in Frank Sakai and his African-American friends, it presents characters who find significant common ground in their struggles, but who also engage each other across grounds—historical and cultural—that are still very much in dispute.

Moving in and out of the past—from the internment camps of World War II, to the barley fields of the Crenshaw District in the 1930s, to the streets of Watts in the 1960s, to the night spots and garment factories of the 1990s—Southland weaves a tale of Los Angeles in all of its faces and forms.

Nina Revoyr is the author of The Necessary Hunger ("Irresistible."—Time Magazine). She was born in Japan, raised in Tokyo and Los Angeles, and is of Japanese and Polish-American descent. She lives and works in Los -Angeles.

About Nina Revoyr

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Nina Revoyr was born in Japan to a Japanese mother and a white American father, and grew up in Tokyo, Wisconsin, and Los Angeles. She is the author of three novels. Nina has been an Associate Faculty member at Antioch University, a Visiting Professor at Cornell University, and the Remsen Bird Visiting Writer at Occidental College. She has also worked for more than a decade in the fields of child welfare and public education. Nina lives in Los Angeles with her English Springer Spaniel, Russell.
Published April 1, 2008 by Akashic Books. 349 pages
Genres: History, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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But a greater and more disturbing mystery arises when James tells Jackie that Curtis and three other neighborhood boys were found frozen to death in Frank’s meat locker during the 1965 riots.

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Publishers Weekly

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As Jackie and James dig deeper into Curtis's past, their friendship (and awkward attraction to each other) takes its toll on Jackie's fading three-year relationship with girlfriend Laura.

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