“[A] suspense-filled page-turner.” Viet Thanh Nguyen, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for The Sympathizer
"A touching portrait of two families bound together by a split-second decision.” Attica Locke, Edgar-Award winning author of Bluebird, Bluebird
A powerful and taut novel about racial tensions in Los Angeles, following two familiesone Korean-American, one African-Americangrappling with the effects of a decades-old crime
In the wake of the police shooting of a black teenager, Los Angeles is as tense as it’s been since the unrest of the early 1990s. But Grace Park and Shawn Matthews have their own problems. Grace is sheltered and largely oblivious, living in the Valley with her Korean-immigrant parents, working long hours at the family pharmacy. She’s distraught that her sister hasn’t spoken to their mother in two years, for reasons beyond Grace’s understanding. Shawn has already had enough of politics and protest after an act of violence shattered his family years ago. He just wants to be left alone to enjoy his quiet life in Palmdale.
But when another shocking crime hits LA, both the Park and Matthews families are forced to face down their history while navigating the tumult of a city on the brink of more violence.
Steph Cha is the author of the Juniper Song crime trilogy. She’s an editor and critic whose work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, USA Today, and The Los Angeles Review of Books. A native of the San Fernando Valley, she lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two basset hounds.
Your House Will Pay: A Novel 4.5 out of 5based on
26 days ago
Based on a true story, this novel had me hooked from page one. Its pacing and depth of characters (I love that they're all so nuanced - no stock characters here) kept me engaged throughout. Cha deftly navigates complex race and class issues in a way that invites the reader to come closer, to examine his/her own reactions and biases. It's a masterful, thrill of a read - the kind that stays with you long after you've finished.
27 days ago
“Maybe this was just how the world worked: people forgot awful truths all the time, or at least forgot to remember.”
This book was unexpected, and wonderful. It takes a mature, nuanced, and empathic look at racial tensions and injustice evolving throughout the recent history of Los Angeles. Two families are living in modern LA that seemingly have nothing in common - one black, experiencing extreme racial prejudice, death, gang violence, and imprisonment, and one Korean, living an almost idyllic life in the suburbs. However, these two families are connected in ways that most couldn't imagine until an act of violence in the summer of 2019 reveals some truths about an act of violence almost 30 years previous.
What's so powerful and sad about this book is that you can pretty much predict the plot twists and turns as they come. That doesn't mean the book is poorly written or lacking nuance. It just means that the inequality in our justice system has become so predictable that we can sadly see the violence and injustice coming from a mile away. To me, that makes it as timely as anything else you could be reading now about racial violence and prejudice, and worth anyone's time.
Cha's writing, as I mentioned, is mature, and full of empathy. She somehow manages to make almost every character sympathetic, even those you really want to hate. In these big, messy issues, those on each side always thinks they are right, and she attempts to explain how it is that people could justify behavior that others think unbelievable and reprehensible.
Thank you to Netgalley and HarperCollins for providing me an early copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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