The author of the Juniper Song crime trilogy returns with a novel that draws on the real 1991 murder of Latasha Harlins—a black teenager killed by a Korean shop owner in Los Angeles—to explore the aftermath of a decades-old crime that connects two Los Angeles families, one Korean American and one African American.
To read Steph Cha's compelling and risk-taking new novel is to be submerged in tragedy and to appreciate the herculean effort needed to pull back from the brink of spiraling disaster ... Shawn is my favorite character, but there are many complex and well-rendered African Americans in the novel ... Cha uses an intimate third-person voice throughout the novel, and with half the book being about Black folk, I was surprised that she would attempt something so audacious and weirdly fearless ... Cha is striving for that and is willing to take great risks to achieve it, and she is largely successful ... That Cha is drawn to contend with voices that don’t strictly represent her cultural heritage, while taking head-on one of the most devastating events in Los Angeles history, is admirable as well as ambitious ... Cha is a remarkably generous writer. Through understanding and empathy, she reveals how difficult it can be to reconcile — yet sometimes, somehow we do.
... riveting ... This house motif — and its myriad meanings — effectively moves throughout Cha’s engrossing story about race, redemption and forgiveness ... also is an emotional look at families and how trauma and violence can reverberate for generations ... Cha unflinchingly delves into the complex emotions that drive families, violence and the need to survive. Your House Will Pay sets a new high for the talented Cha.
... ambitious, accomplished and remarkably compelling ... Ms. Cha is a terrific writer with a keen eye for social settings ... propelled by scenes that surprise but still ring true, and the book’s two-tiered time-frame is full of revelations concerning who knew what when and who did what and why ... Such are the queries posed by this impressive work, rich with incident and detail—a book with the courage to leave the answers to its most daunting questions up to the reader.