An Audiobook Review by Jackie Houchin
Naomi Hirahara’s CLARK AND DIVISION (the name of an “L” subway station in Chicago) is about two sisters in a Japanese-American family living in Los Angeles when Pearl Harbor was bombed. It touches briefly on the years before that event when Aki’s older sister Rose stuck up for her, and then in the Japanese detainment camp Manzanar, how she became the strength of the entire family.
But most of the story takes place in Chicago when families were eventually allowed to resettle in American heartland cities. Rose went first and when things were arranged, the family followed. The tragedy they faced on arrival was devastating, and Aki was determined to somehow find the truth and to honor her sister.
The journey for Aki is long, painful, and increasingly dangerous. She makes good friends and bad enemies along the way. She even finds love. But her sister’s character and reputation are foremost in her mind and heart. She is determined, and pushes forward regardless of what happens to herself…to the explosive ending.
Hirahara has a way of writing strong human emotions with minimal words. And her characters are memorable and remain with you after the book is finished. In CLARK AND DIVISION, justice is served, but there are some loose ends – hopeful but unresolved – that I hope will be addressed in the next book, EVERGREEN.
Alison Hiroto was excellent as the narrator.
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