Sunday, December 22, 2019

Five great American social crime novels

Steph Cha's new novel is Your House Will Pay.

At Book Marks she shared five American social crime novels with Jane Ciabattari, including:
Southland by Nina Revoyr

In this Los Angeles masterpiece, Revoyr explores the history of the Crenshaw district in the 20th century by delving into a terrible crime committed during the 1965 Watts Rebellion. This was the book that made Your House Will Pay feel possible.

JC: How did Southland influence your new novel?

SC: Southland helped me see how the story of a crime could unlock the history of a neighborhood, and with it, the history of Los Angeles and––I’m being serious here––America. The novel follows two families––one Japanese, one black––from the 1930s to the 1990s, covering everything from the Japanese American internment to the Northridge earthquake, with a particular focus on the Watts Rebellion. Revoyr inhabits the points of view of both a Japanese-American woman and a black man with great depth and empathy, and she writes compellingly about Los Angeles in chaos. I owe a lot to that book.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue