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Nina Revoyr brings us a compelling story of race, love, murder, and history against the backdrop of Los Angeles.

$16.95 $12.71

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What people are saying…

Winner of a 2004 American Library Association Stonewall Honor Award in Literature
Winner of the 2003 Lambda Literary Award
Nominated for an Edgar Award
Selected for the LA Times Best Books of 2003 List
Nominated for a Ferro-Grumley Award for Lesbian Fiction
A Book Sense 76 Pick
InsightOut Book Club Selection

“The plot line of Southland is the stuff of a James Ellroy or a Walter Mosley novel . . . But the climax fairly glows with the good-heartedness that Revoyr displays from the very first page.”
Los Angeles Times

“Jackie Ishida’s grandfather had a store in Watts where four boys were killed during the riots in 1965, a mystery she attempts to solve.”
New York Times Book Review, included in “Where Noir Lives in the City of Angels”

“It is the kind of saga that often epitomizes and shocks LA—friction and violence between races and cultures.”
Los Angeles Times, named one of the 20 Essential LA Crime Books

“When I started working on Your House Will Pay, I hoped to write something that was half as smart and affecting as Southland. Revoyr’s novel takes place in the Crenshaw district of Los Angeles, following two families—one black, one Japanese—over several decades. It’s a character-driven saga with the engine of a crime novel, unravelling a horrific multiple murder that took place in the chaotic days of the Watts Rebellion in 1965.”
The Guardian (UK), one of Steph Cha’s Top 10 Books About Trouble in Los Angeles

“A story about injustice dressed up as a detective novel, Southland reminds us that activism is both an ongoing project and a deeply personal choice.”
—Vallaire Wallace for Electric Literature

“If Oprah still had her book club, this novel likely would be at the top of her list . . . With prose that is beautiful, precise, but never pretentious . . .”
Booklist (starred review)

“Compelling . . . never lacking in vivid detail and authentic atmosphere, the novel cements Revoyr’s reputation as one of the freshest young chroniclers of life in LA.”
Publishers Weekly

“What makes a book like Southland resonate is that it merges elements of literature and social history with the propulsive drive of a mystery, while evoking Southern California as a character, a key player in the tale. Such aesthetics have motivated other Southland writers, most notably Walter Mosley.”
Los Angeles Times

“I’m an LA native with a lot of love for LA crime fiction, but instead of preaching to the noir choir about The Long Goodbye, I’d like to gush about Southland by Nina Revoyr. It’s a brilliant, ambitious, moving literary crime novel about two families in South Los Angeles and their tangled history between the 1930s and the 1990s. The central mystery is the death of four black boys in a Japanese-American man’s store during the Watts Rebellion of 1965. It’s a powerful book, one that I think about often, as well as a huge influence on my work. Right up there with Chandler.”
GQ, Stephanie Cha’s pick for her favorite crime novel

“Fascinating and heartbreaking . . . an essential part of LA history.”
LA Weekly

“Read this book and tell me you don’t want to read more. I know I do.”
—Dorothy Allison

“. . . subtle, effective . . . [with] a satisfyingly unpredictable climax.”
Washington Post

“An engaging, thoughtful book that even East Coasters can enjoy.”
New York Press

“Dead-on descriptions of California both gritty and golden.”
East Bay Express

Southland gripped my attention and would not let go until I turned the last page.”
International Examiner

“A remarkable feat.”
—Susan Straight

Southland is a simmering stew of individual dreams, family struggles, cultural relations, social changes, and race relations. It is a compelling, challenging, and rewarding novel.”
Chicago Free Press


Nina Revoyr answered 15 questions for Akashic’s Literary Lions feature. Read her answers here.

Nina Revoyr brings us a compelling story of race, love, murder, and history against the backdrop of Los Angeles. A young Japanese-American woman, Jackie Ishida, is in her last semester of law school when her grandfather, Frank Sakai, dies unexpectedly. While trying to fulfill a request from his will, Jackie discovers that four black teenagers were killed in the store he ran during the Watts Riots of 1965—and that the murders were never solved or reported. Along with James Lanier, a cousin of one of the victims, she tries to piece together the story of the boys’ deaths. In the process, Jackie unearths the long-held secrets of her family’s history—and her own. Moving in and out of the past, from the shipping yards and internment camps of World War II; to the barley fields of the Crenshaw District in the 1930s; to the means streets of Watts in the 1960s; to the night spots and garment factories of the 1990s, Southland weaves a tale of Los Angeles in all of its faces and forms.

Southland is included in a Los Angeles Times feature highlighting Los Angeles’s space as a beating heart of noir and crime fiction.


Book Details

  • Paperback: 350 pages
  • Published: 3/3/03
  • IBSN: 9781888451412
  • e-IBSN: 9781936070480
  • Hardcover
  • IBSN: 9781636140537


NINA REVOYR is the author of six novels, including A Student of History; Lost Canyon; The Age of Dreaming, which was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize; Southland, a Los Angeles Times best seller and “Best Book” of 2003; The Necessary Hunger; and Wingshooters, which won an Indie Booksellers Choice Award and was selected by O, The Oprah Magazine as one of “10 Titles to Pick Up Now.” Revoyr lives and works in Los Angeles.

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