Clark and Division
A New York Times Best Mystery Novel of 2021
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.
Chicago, 1944: 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 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.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Set against the backdrop of America’s Japanese internment camps during World War II, this thrilling mystery is packed full of history and heart. Aki Ito can’t rest until she answers a heartbreaking question about her sister, Rose: Why would a woman who’s already overcome the unthinkable throw herself in front of a train? The Ito family had survived the horrors of the Manzanar camp when Rose was chosen for a reintegration program that could mark a new beginning for them. Something about her tragic death just doesn’t seem right, and an exciting mystery unfolds as the tenacious Aki doggedly pursues the answers behind it. Aki’s impressive tenacity and irreverent sense of humor guide her through a complex, ever-deepening investigation. But we were just as moved by the way Naomi Hirahara’s novel explores the deep trauma experienced by Japanese Americans at this time. Clark and Division will have you feverishly turning the pages, but it may also find you flicking away a few tears.
Set during WWII, this fascinating standalone from Edgar winner Hirahara (the Mas Arai series) focuses on a Japanese American family, the Itos, who in 1942 are sent with what possessions they can carry from L.A. to the Manzanar internment camp in the California desert. In 1943, elder daughter Rose, a bright and confident young woman, is chosen to be among the first internees to be relocated to Chicago, a move that will pave the way for her family to join her. In 1944, Rose's parents and younger sister, Aki, arrive in the city, only to be informed that Rose has been run over by a subway train at the Clark and Division station, an apparent suicide. Aki refuses to believe this theory and sets out to find her sister's killer and bring that person to justice. Tantalizing clues emerge in Rose's diary, in reports gathered for the War Relocation Authority, and in Aki's tireless interviews with those who shaped Rose's life in Chicago. Elegant prose matches the meticulous research. This well-crafted tale of injustice isn't just for mystery fans.)