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by Nina Revoyr
Paperback: 350 pages
Reviewed by Thumper
In the beginning of my throes into books that I missed the first time around and cleaning out my library, one of my discoveries was the second novel by Nina Revoyr titled Southland. I first read Revoyr's debut novel, The Necessary Hunger, many years ago when I first came to AALBC.com. At the time I would have placed Revoyr in the same category as Susan Straight (I Been in Sorrow's Kitchen and Licked Out All the Pots, and The Getting Place) as authors who can tell truthful stories about African Americans, the realistic interaction of African Americans with other cultures and the authors themselves are not African American. In The Necessary Hunger, a young Japanese female basketball player struggles with her sexuality when she falls for one of her African American teammates. The situation gets worse when her father marries the mother of the teammate. I loved The Necessary Hunger! It's an incredible novel. In Southland, Revoyr continues the Japanese American-African American connection with an incredible family drama. With The Necessary Hunger, Revoyr simply fell into my ’author to watch out for’ group. After reading Southland, I can officially state that I am beyond a fan, I am a HUGE fan. Put Southland on the list, it's an ass wiper.
After the death of her grandfather, Frank Sakai; Jackie
Ishida, a 25 years old lesbian law student, is given a mission.
Jackie's aunt Lois Sakai found $38,000 in her father's bedroom.
The money is left over from the sale of Frank's store back in
the 1965, immediately after the Watts Riot. According to Frank's
old will, the store was to be left to a young black man, Curtis
Martindale. Lois wants Jackie to find Curtis in order to give
him the money because Lois believes the money rightfully belongs
to Curtis; this is what her father would have wanted. In her
search for Curtis, Jackie encounters James Lanier, Curtis's
cousin. James tells Jackie that Curtis is dead; he and three
other young black men were murdered in her grandfather's store
during the riot. The murders were never solved. Jackie, now with
the assistance of James, is determined to find the murderer and
in the process unearths a family secret.