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Clark and Division
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Clark and Division
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A New York Times Best Mystery Novel of 2021Set in 1944 Chicago, Edgar Award-winner Naomi Hirahara’s eye-opening and poignant new mystery, the story of a young woman searching for the truth...
A New York Times Best Mystery Novel of 2021Set in 1944 Chicago, Edgar Award-winner Naomi Hirahara’s eye-opening and poignant new mystery, the story of a young woman searching for the truth...
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Description-

  • A New York Times Best Mystery Novel of 2021

    Set in 1944 Chicago, Edgar Award-winner Naomi Hirahara’s eye-opening and poignant new mystery, the story of a young woman searching for the truth about her revered older sister's death, brings to focus the struggles of one Japanese American family released from mass incarceration at Manzanar during World War II.


    Chicago, 1944: Twenty-year-old Aki Ito and her parents have just been released from Manzanar, where they have been detained by the US government since the aftermath of Pearl Harbor, together with thousands of other Japanese Americans. The life in California the Itos were forced to leave behind is gone; instead, they are being resettled two thousand miles away in Chicago, where Aki’s older sister, Rose, was sent months earlier and moved to the new Japanese American neighborhood near Clark and Division streets. But on the eve of the Ito family’s reunion, Rose is killed by a subway train.

    Aki, who worshipped her sister, is stunned. Officials are ruling Rose’s death a suicide. Aki cannot believe her perfect, polished, and optimistic sister would end her life. Her instinct tells her there is much more to the story, and she knows she is the only person who could ever learn the truth.

    Inspired by historical events, Clark and Division infuses an atmospheric and heartbreakingly real crime with rich period details and delicately wrought personal stories Naomi Hirahara has gleaned from thirty years of research and archival work in Japanese American history.

 

Awards-

Excerpts-

  • From the book Chapter 1
     
     
    Rose was always there, even while I was being born. It was a breech birth; the midwife, soaked in her own sweat as well as some of my mother’s, had been struggling for hours and didn’t notice my three-year-old sister inching her way to the stained bed. According to the midwife, Mom was screaming unrepeatable things in Japanese when Rose, the first one to see an actual body part of mine, yanked my slimy foot good and hard.
        “Ito-san!” The midwife’s voice cut through the chaos, and my father came in to get Rose out of the room.
         Rose ran; Pop couldn’t catch her at first and when he finally did, he couldn’t control her. In a matter of minutes, Rose, undeterred by the blood on my squirming body, returned to embrace me into her fan club. Until the end of her days and even beyond, my gaze would remain on her.
         Our first encounter became Ito family lore, how I came into the world in our town of Tropico, a name that hardly anyone in Los Angeles knows today. For a while, I couldn’t remember a time when I was apart from Rose. We slept curled up like pill bugs on the same thin mattress; it was pachanko, flat as a pancake, but we didn’t mind. Our spines were limber back then. We could have slept on a blanket over our dirt yard, which we did sometimes during those hot Southern California Indian summers, our puppy, Rusty, at our bare feet.
         Tropico was where my father and other Japanese men first came to till the rich alluvial soil for strawberry plants. They were the Issei, the first generation, the pioneers who were the progenitors of us, the Nisei. Pop had been fairly successful, until the housing subdivisions came. The other Issei farmers fled south to Gardena or north to San Fernando Valley, but Pop stayed and got a job at one of the produce markets clustered in downtown Los Angeles, only a few miles away. Tonai’s sold every kind of vegetable and fruit imaginable—Pascal celery from Venice; iceberg lettuce from Santa Maria and Guadalupe; Larson strawberries from Gardena; and Hale’s Best cantaloupes from Imperial Valley.
         My mother had emigrated from Kagoshima in 1919, when she was in her late teens, to marry my father. The two families had known each other way back when, and while my mother wasn’t officially a picture bride, she was mighty close. My father, who had received Mom’s photograph from his own mother, liked her face—her strong and broad jaw, which suggested she might be able to survive the frontier of California. His hunch was right; in so many ways, she was even tougher than my father.
         When I was five, Pop was promoted to market manager and we moved to a larger house, still in Tropico. The house was close to the Red Car electric streetcar station so Pop didn’t need to drive into work, but he usually traveled in his Model A anyway; he wasn’t the type to wait around for a train. Rose and I still shared a room but we had our own beds, although during certain nights when the Santa Ana
    winds blew through our loose window frames  I would end up crawling in beside her. “Aki!” she’d cry out as my cold toes brushed against her calves. She’d turn and fall back asleep while I trembled in her bed, fearful of the moving shadows of the sycamore trees, demented witches in the moonlight.
         Maybe because my life started with her touch, I needed to be close to her to feel that I was alive. I was her constant student,...

About the Author-

  • Naomi Hirahara is the Edgar Award–winning author of the Mas Arai mystery series, including Summer of the Big Bachi, which was a Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year and one of Chicago Tribune’s Ten Best Mysteries and Thrillers; Gasa Gasa Girl; Snakeskin Shamisen; and Hiroshima Boy. She is also the author of the LA-based Ellie Rush mysteries. A former editor of The Rafu Shimpo newspaper, she has co-written non-fiction books like Life after Manzanar and the award-winning Terminal Island: Lost Communities of Los Angeles Harbor. The Stanford University alumna was born and raised in Altadena, CA; she now resides in the adjacent town of Pasadena, CA.

Reviews-

  • Library Journal

    March 1, 2021

    In multi-award-winning Andrews's Murder Most Fowl, Meg Langslow's husband is directing a production of Macbeth even as gung-ho reenactors erect an authentic medieval Scottish military camp nearby, which ends in the murder of the unpleasant filmmaker documenting the reenactment (40,000-copy first printing). A BAFTA and multiple mystery award winner, novelist/filmmaker Claudel limns the current refugee crisis, with the inhabitants of backwater Dog Island refusing to disrupt their age-old way of life when three unidentified bodies wash ashore, deciding instead to bury them. In Edgar Award winner Hirahara's 1944-set Clark and Division, 20-year-old Aki, who has moved with her parents to Chicago after their release from the Manzanar concentration camp in California, refuses to believe that her sister Rose's death is a suicide. Lightning Strike, a prequel to Krueger's "Cork O'Connor" series, features Cork's coming-of age in small-town 1963 Minnesota. In Muller's Ice and Stone, durable PI Sharon McCone is enlisted by the organization Crimes Against Indigenous Sisters when two more Indigenous women are brutally dispatched in what the police refuse to regard as a pattern (25,000-copy first printing). The Madness of Crowds, the next in Penny's sensational "Chief Inspector Gamache" series, sends the chief inspector home to Three Pines, Canada, after a sojourn in Paris. Following Trinchieri's well-received debut, Murder in Chianti, The Bitter Taste of Murder finds former NYPD Nico Doyle comfortably settled in his late wife's Tuscan hometown--until the ruthless wine critic who's just arrived is murdered.

    Copyright 2021 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Booklist

    May 15, 2021
    There are multiple books, fiction and nonfiction, about the incarceration of Japanese Americans during WWII, but stories of what happened to the detainees after being released from the camps are less frequently told. Hirahara changes that with this deeply researched historical mystery about a Japanese family from California who were ""resettled"" in Chicago in 1944 after spending more than two years at the Manzanar internment camp. Twenty-year-old Aki Ito and her mother and father, finally released from Manzanar, are anticipating a reunion with Aki's older sister, Rose, who has been in Chicago for several months, living in a new Japanese neighborhood around Clark and Division streets. Upon arrival, they learn that Rose has died in a subway accident, which the police believe was suicide. Convinced that her sister would not kill herself, Aki sets out to determine what really happened. Hirahara peppers the mystery with a detail-rich portrait of Chicago during the war and of newly arrived Japanese Americans trying to negotiate a largely hostile new world. This works fine as an amateur-sleuth mystery, but it's the vibrant historical background that makes the novel special.

    COPYRIGHT(2021) Booklist, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Publisher's Weekly

    May 24, 2021
    Set during WWII, this fascinating standalone from Edgar winner Hirahara (the Mas Arai series) focuses on a Japanese American family, the Itos, who in 1942 are sent with what possessions they can carry from L.A. to the Manzanar internment camp in the California desert. In 1943, elder daughter Rose, a bright and confident young woman, is chosen to be among the first internees to be relocated to Chicago, a move that will pave the way for her family to join her. In 1944, Rose’s parents and younger sister, Aki, arrive in the city, only to be informed that Rose has been run over by a subway train at the Clark and Division station, an apparent suicide. Aki refuses to believe this theory and sets out to find her sister’s killer and bring that person to justice. Tantalizing clues emerge in Rose’s diary, in reports gathered for the War Relocation Authority, and in Aki’s tireless interviews with those who shaped Rose’s life in Chicago. Elegant prose matches the meticulous research. This well-crafted tale of injustice isn’t just for mystery fans. Agent: Susan Cohen, PearlCo Literary.

  • Kirkus

    June 15, 2021
    When a young Japanese American woman is murdered during World War II, her grieving younger sister turns sleuth to solve the crime. As she tells it, the story of young Aki Ito's family begins in Southern California in the 1920s. Mom emigrates from Japan in 1919 to marry Pop, who, starting as a farm laborer, rises to the post of market manager. Aki looks up to her elder sister, Rose, the star of the family. The bombing of Pearl Harbor changes everything for the family; they are sent to the Manzanar internment camp in 1942. Then, in June 1943, the War Relocation Authority recruits Rose to be one of the "loyal" nisei to move out of the camp and work in Chicago. Her boyfriend, Roy, follows a few months later. When the family is finally allowed to follow, they are greeted with the horrifying news that Rose is dead, killed by a subway train. Aki's decision to uncover the truth about Rose's death comes slowly. Hirahara immerses readers in this ignoble period in American history and in the family's grief, presented from Aki's wary, wide-eyed perspective. Learning that Rose had an abortion accelerates Aki's desire to know the truth. She's unsettled even further when Rose's death is ruled a suicide. Subsequent chapters begin with passages from Rose's diary, providing a chilling backdrop to the truth that is gradually revealed. Getting a job at the Newberry Library puts Aki closer to the heart of the city and exposes her to the casual racism all around her. Roy's failure to offer support and the fear and evasiveness of Rose's roommate, Tomi Kawamura, only harden Aki's determination to find answers. Her investigation becomes her rite of passage into adulthood. An effective whodunit that's also a sensitive coming-of-age story.

    COPYRIGHT(2021) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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