Clark and Division

Naomi Hirahara
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About This Book

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.

From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.