Soho Crime hardcover and ebook, August 2021
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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.
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 fiction plot 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.
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“Clark and Division is a moving, eye-opening depiction of life after Manzanar. Naomi Hirahara has infused her mystery with a deep humanity, unearthing a piece of buried American history.”
“Part historical fiction, part thriller, all a deeply moving family story, set in 1944 Chicago against the backdrop of the shameful treatment of Japanese-Americans by the U.S. government. Hirahara’s gifted writing is a master class in how to bring a historical epoch to life.”
—Sara Paretsky, bestselling author of the Chicago Detective V.I. Warshawski series
“An engrossing mystery filled with unexpected twists. Whether you are already a fan or are about to become one, this is not to be missed!”
—Brian Niiya, editor of the Encyclopedia of Japanese American History
“Clark and Division does what crime novels do best: It uses a wonderfully wrought, ticking time-bomb of a story to illuminate a larger social issue, in this case the incarceration and resettlement of tens of thousands of Japanese Americans during World War II. A jewel of a novel. Buy it, read it, enjoy it.”
—Michael Harvey, author of The Chicago Way