Southland

Southland 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 te

  • Title: Southland
  • Author: Nina Revoyr
  • ISBN: 9781888451412
  • Page: 260
  • Format: Paperback
  • 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 MoonSouthland brings us a fascinating story of race, love, murder and history, against the backdrop of an ever chang 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 MoonSouthland 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.

    One thought on “Southland”

    1. Nina Revoyr is a writer I really enjoy reading, and I wish her works were better known. It can be tough to find books that feature queer characters that go beyond coming out stories. Coming out stories certainly have their place, but it’s also important to me to read books about queer people living their lives and getting into interesting situations and, you know, being the people they are. In Southland, Revoyr has created a mystery/historical hybrid novel which explores complicated race relat [...]

    2. 4.5/5I'm not good for keeping up with TV shows. Sometimes the roles of women characters will be completely subsumed by the het romance spiel, and I'll be like, eh. Sometimes producers will think the only way to promote character development of women will be to throw in noncanonical rape scenes, (here's a hint: I'll be rereading the GoT books before the next one's out, not watching the TV show) and I'll be like, nah. Sometimes shows will do something really predictable and thus really boring, lik [...]

    3. Revoyr's writing is a little clunky and awkward, but she makes up for that with the story. She takes a murder in L.A. and uses it to make a novel crime novel. I hadn't been aware of the pre-WWII connection between Japanese-American and African-American communities. Remnants of that bond still exist today, Revoyr writes. She also shows the effect the war, and racial prejudice in general, had on Japanese-Americans. The internment camps were awful but Revoyr points out that that it's the cumulative [...]

    4. When Jackie Ishida's grandfather dies, her aunt finds in his closet a box of cash from the sale of his old store, along with an old will leaving the money to someone they've never heard of. Jackie agrees to help find this guy, only to find out he died. Was murdered, in fact, along with three other boys, in her grandfather's store during the Watts riots in 1965. As she and James Lanier, a cousin of the boy, look into the murders, Jackie learns more than she expected to about her grandfather.[retu [...]

    5. This book was very enjoyable, kind of uneven, and very, very sad. The way LA was written rang true to me, as did the disjointed way that Jackie tries to square her family's roots in the Crenshaw district, from which she has been immunized, with her privileged experience of the city. For me, Jackie's present-day point of view felt the weakest, in an MFA workshop kind of way. As in, it was hard to get lost in the prose and forget that I was reading someone's writing. Thinking about it more, the se [...]

    6. An huge measure of LA history is stuffed into this wonderful tale. The melting pot that was Los Angeles before World War II and during the Civil Rights era is rediscovered by the contemporary descendents of the early Black and Japanese inhabitants, and the reader is taken along for the ride. I especially enjoyed the book, having grown up in the Southland and my parents being the same age as the older characters at the center of the mystery. In addition to mystery, I loved the descriptions of the [...]

    7. *sigh*I had pretty much forgotten about this book until walking through the public library today and spotting it out of the corner of my eye. I had to read it for some gen ed or something in college. I remember it being awfully convoluted and depressing, but as I flipped through it today and re-read a scene near the end, it came back to me. THIS IS THE BOOK WHERE PEOPLE DIE IN A RESTAURANT FREEZER. Being someone who works in a restaurant and occasionally has to pop into a freezer for one reason [...]

    8. A very engrossing mystery about a Japanese American woman trying to unearth the death of an African American boy. She learns family secrets in the process. Themes include race, class, sexuality. Some emotionally challenging moments - I cried while reading the passage about her family's experience in the internment camps.A really interesting way to learn about the history of South Los Angeles! After reading this book, I realized that I do enjoy mysteries, but need good recommendations for more bo [...]

    9. Southland is one of four books nominated to be my university's Common Book this coming fall. As a member of the selection committee, I'll be reading all four. This book is one of my top two favorites, so I read it first. A number of factors put it near the top of my list: It's set in Los Angeles; it deals with racial tension in the city, especially Japanese and black; and it revolves around the unreported and unsolved murders of four black teenage boys during Watts Riots. The riots took place in [...]

    10. So I wasn't really impressed with this novel. I felt like the writing was oftentimes heavy handed, the plot was transparent and everything was rather forced.I get that Revoyr was trying to portray the full extent and continuum of racial cruelty, but when a book is this overwritten and so blatently constructed it loses its power. Instead of being lost in the story or upset by the truisms (and yes, these are serious crimes and they are and have always been and some say will always continue to be p [...]

    11. “[Grandpa:] why didn’t you ever tell me that you fought in the war?” “Because it didn’t make any difference.”—page 199In the early 1960s there was a popular Japanese nightclub, The Kabuki, on Crenshaw Blvd. in the heart of the Crenshaw District; and I could never understand why this particular club was so far removed from downtown Los Angeles and Little Tokyo. Now, after reading Nina Revoyr’s novel, ‘Southland,’ I understand.In some respects ‘Southland’ reads almost like [...]

    12. I appreciate what the author is trying to do with this book--which is to bring to our attention the long and storied history between Japanese Americans and African Americans in early 20th century LA. It's a history that is relevant and should be told. That said, I found her writing sometimes difficult to digest. Character development felt a little too simplified, and I had trouble believing some of the thought processes of these characters. This book is more of a 3.5, but I didn't feel it warran [...]

    13. i found this book incredibly moving when it went into both the history of LA and race, particularly internment and the 442nd. i nearly cried many, many times. so many books do both so badly that i really appreciate when they can be done in a natural way. however, this greatness might be a little overshadowed by the (i thought) horrible, horrible portrayal of sexuality and its intersection with race. also, the writing felt a little amateur at times (i usually like books with different points of v [...]

    14. Required reading for a gender studies course.This book read more like non-fiction, but was really confusing, as the narrative jumped back & forth in time. And there were too many characters introduced, which made things very confusing. I didn't really like Jackie, and I'm not sure the author intended for readers to like Jackie's character However, I did appreciate the rich, cultural histories embedded in the streets of LA

    15. A little slow initially but stick with this book. Many layers to this story dealing with two diverse communities who found common ground in their mistreatment by the majority over the course of sixty years. However, the common ground was ephemeral and it takes a shoebox to start a young woman inquiring into the past on a quest for justice. She discovers more than she bargained for about her family and herself.

    16. I devoured this book. Revoyr weaves a compelling story from threads of history, identity, loss, and a bit of mystery. Her prose is straightforward, while the events and characters are subtle and complex. We get a portrait of a family, a neighborhood, an era, rendered with clarity and with love, even in the midst of the horrible and the tragic. Read it, and weep, as I did.

    17. It's taken a little while to get into this, mostly because of the point of view switches, but I'm finding it well worth the journey. Once you get to know the characters more, the story is incredibly compelling and moving. With so many books dropping my (admittedly short) attention span, it's nice to sink into a novel and take my time with it. And Revoyr's writing is fantastic.

    18. this really sold me on revoyr and akashic books. great stories of south central LA changing over the years and decades, and how we are all in this bloody mess together, no matter how much we deny it.

    19. Even though I figured out the two key pieces of the puzzle with the first hints of foreshadowing, I still loved this book. It wasn't an amazing piece of literature and it didn't need to be. It was an enjoyable, light read about some dark topics (race relations being the primary focus).

    20. I recommend this novel for its sad, well written story of racial and cultural history in Los Angeles . I understand why it was selected as the 2015 common read book at LMU. I plan to read more books by this fine author.

    21. 4.5/5This is a book with a lot of layers, but absolutely necessary in telling the story that unfolds and takes over Jackie's (the main protagonist) life, which starts with a will. Southland is an unbelievably ambitious project that Revoyr took as her second novel, and I think it shows in some places where her writing may fall a little flat.Revoyr brings out a history that may not be as well known of the grittier days of Los Angeles, particularly the build-up to the Watts Riots that took place in [...]

    22. Very impressed with this one. It's sort of a multi-generational story of the Crenshaw area in LA, focusing on its Japanese and black residents. Jackie, the main character, gets involved with the neighborhood's history after the death of her Japanese grandfather who had so many links with the old community. She's a law student, and was raised in the suburbs by parents who tried to keep her out of the "bad" neighborhood. (her part of the story takes place in 1994) In trying to discover something p [...]

    23. I started reading this the day after I visited the Watts Towers in south central LA. As a rather nervous visitor to the area (not without reason - there was a drive by killing of an 11 year old outside a church the same day) I was absolutely glued to this book.I love the LA noir genre of detective fiction. This is very different, and offers far more insight into WHY LA is as it is. It takes us to other parts of LA - the more middleclass areas of West LA (where I was staying), for example.This bo [...]

    24. One of the most interesting fiction story I have read that describes the WWII Japanese American experience in LA. It also ties the past and future events to the Watts riots of the 60s. A yonsei law student reads an old will her Nisei grandfather wrote that gives the old family grocery a store to a man she does not recognize. The investigation begins.

    25. I haven't read many books that deal with California's history, which is sad because I live in California. This book in some ways exceeded my expectations.This book is part mystery, part character study. The main plotline centers around the characters of Lanier and Jackie trying to solve the mystery of the murder of the former's cousin, which took place in the store of the later's grandfather during the Watts riots. There are separate chapters dedicated to specific characters, including the cousi [...]

    26. Several months back the World's Smallest Reading Group gained a third member who renamed it the Tiny Book Club. Because all three of us have come to California fairly recently, ie since the 1990s, we decided to read some fiction set in our adopted state. Southland was the perfect novel to begin our new project.The story ranges from mid WWII, when Frank Sakai was sent with his family to the Japanese internment camp of Manzanar at the age of 15, up to 1994, the year Frank died. We learn Frank's st [...]

    27. "e novel cements Nevoyr's reputation as one of the freshest young chroniclers of life in L.A." --Publishers WeeklyThe more you know and care about Los Angeles, the more you will enjoy this book.As I recently learned from the marvelous history The Warmth of Other Suns, Los Angeles was the destination of a good number of black people who left the South during the Jim Crow years. In addition, of course, it was and is a destination for many immigrants from Japan. The main reason I enjoyed this novel [...]

    28. Wonderful concept and engaging, moving characters. I was simply hoping for more memorable pieces per page, but I'm especially pressed during reading time right now and am unduly demanding

    29. Really really amazing read. I picked this up again after having forgotten about it for two years, and I am so glad I never marked it as abandoned. It was a mystery, a tragedy, a historical tale, and a couple love stories tied up into a neat, sorrowful, and very well told package. We got a bunch of POVs and each of them felt real and well-crafted and essential to the story that unfolded. I love Jackie, she's the reason I picked this up (Japanese-American lesbian? Hell yeah) but Frank really shone [...]

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