Revoyr (The Necessary Hunger) returns to the gritty, central Los Angeles of her debut with this compelling if overlong tale of a headstrong Japanese-American lesbian law student obsessed with discovering her family history and solving a murder mystery. Jackie Ishida, 25, is undone by the sudden death in 1994 of her loving, seemingly healthy Japanese grandfather, Frank Sakai. A veteran of World War II, he lived a philanthropic life and in the 1960s owned a small grocery in the racially integrated Crenshaw district he grew up in. When Jackie's aunt Lois finds a large shoebox with $38,000 in cash in Frank's closet, both women are perplexed, particularly since they also discover a mysterious beneficiary, Curtis Martindale, in a decades-old will. Lois dispatches Jackie to find Curtis. Enter strong, street-smart James Lanier, a cousin of Curtis's, who informs Jackie that Curtis is dead. An employee at Frank's store during the Watts riots in 1965, Curtis, along with three other black teenage boys, was found frozen to death in the store's freezer. This heinous crime was never reported (nor discussed within the Sakai family) and though white beat cop Nick Lawson was pegged as a prime suspect, the case was never solved and Frank closed the store permanently. 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. In chapters alternating past and present, clues are uncovered that romantically link Curtis's mother Alma to Frank. When a surprise suspect in the killings is fingered, it paves the way for a dark conclusion rooted in skepticism, injustice and racial intolerance. Somewhat overplotted but never lacking in vivid detail and authentic atmosphere, the novel cements Revoyr's reputation as one of the freshest young chroniclers of life in L.A.
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Spanning three generations, Revoyr's follow-up to The Necessary Hunger (1997) uses the murder of three boys during the 1965 Watts riot as the pivot point for a moving, sometimes harrowing exploration of race relations among black, Japanese, and white residents of L.A. When her grandfather dies in 1994, young Japanese American lawyer Jackie Ishida seeks to discover why her grandfather, Frank, had once planned to leave his Crenshaw grocery store to one of the murder victims, a black teen from the neighborhood. After enlisting the help of one of the young man's relatives, rock-solid community group worker James Lanier, Jackie embarks on a journey that will enable her to understand why she has fled so far from her Japanese roots she won't even consider dating a fellow Asian. Switching effortlessly from the mid-1990s to the 1960s, the 1940s, and back again, Revoyr peoples the landscape with compelling characters who are equally believable whether they're black, Japanese, male, female, gay, or straight. With prose that is beautiful, precise, but never pretentious, she brings to vivid life a painful, seldom-explored part of L.A.'s past that should not be forgotten. If Oprah still had her book club, this novel likely would be at the top of her selection list. Frank Sennett
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This book was reading that was assigned for a class. I did not enjoy this text at all. I found it dull and repetitive, with a slow pace. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Kaitlyn Morar
This is a well told story of how events can draw people together and what they discover about themselves. It is beautifully written and engrossing.Published 4 months ago by Barbara B. Minkoff
I believe this book was written beautifully although sadly. The sadness has to do with how little has changed. However, it points to doing something about it (I hope).Published 4 months ago by S.I.
I liked the book, but I think a lot of it depended on knowing LA, and knowing about the events that the story is set in. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Writer
I found this a very slow read, with to much description and very wordy. It would put me to sleep.Published 11 months ago by Rose Magin Chin
I accidentally came across this title when I was looking for a new book to download. I'm so glad I did! Read morePublished 11 months ago by G. Saffren
New twist on finding out the despair that racial prejudice causes. This book reports the prejudice that was shown to the Japanese and the Blacks stemming from World War 2 and... Read morePublished 12 months ago by Diane Melbar
It did not hold my interest at all. I was glad that i got to the end. I figured out what was going on 3/4 of the way through the book. I had little interest in the charactersPublished 12 months ago by Saun