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Three books that, through various genres and forms, explore identity and division in contemporary America—and, somehow, find hope. Steph Cha’s Your House Will Pay is set in Los Angeles, where a shocking crime forces two families, connected by past violence, to face down their history while navigating the tumult of a city on the brink of more violence. Jennine Capó Crucet’s My Time Among the Whites is a collection of essays on feeling like an “accidental” American and the tectonic edges of identity in a society centered on whiteness. Mira Jacob’s graphic memoir Good Talk is a bold, wry, and intimate graphic memoir about American identity, interracial families, and the realities that divide us. It is a love letter to the art of conversation—and to the hope that hovers in our most difficult questions. Moderated by Mat Johnson, author of Loving Day.
Steph Cha, author of the Juniper Song crime trilogy, is now the Noir Editor at The Los Angeles Review of Books and a contributing book reviewer for The Los Angeles Times. Her most recent book is Your House Will Pay. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two basset hounds.
Mira Jacob is the author and illustrator of Good Talk: A Memoir in Conversations. Her critically acclaimed novel, The Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing, was a Barnes & Noble Discover New Writers pick, shortlisted for India’s Tata First Literature Award, longlisted for the Brooklyn Literary Eagles Prize, and translated into seven languages. Her writing and drawings have appeared in The New York Times, Electric Literature, Tin House, Literary Hub, Guernica, and Vogue, and she has a drawn column on Shondaland. She teaches at The New School, and she is a founding faculty member of the MFA Program at Randolph College. She lives in Brooklyn.
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