My Share of the Body by Devon Capizzi is a collection of stories centered around the loss of loved ones and what that means. Each story takes a look into the delicate underpinnings of families and relationships that continue to move forward after death. In a way, Capizzi both writes about and around grief to process what it means to be human.
The final story, “Closing the Distance” was deeply powerful in that it created this stinging tension between the mother and daughter. It continued on until the last moments where they seemed to begin mending back their relationship, even as the loss of their father pervaded.
Final Rating: 4/5
Desert Exile by Yoshiko Uchida follows the story of the author and her family as they are taken from their home in San Francisco to the internment camp at Topaz during WWII. Her documentation and explanation of her experiences were heart wrenching and at times difficult to read passed. In her recounting, there is a thread of anger and pain as she shows the life her family had lived before to the difficult times at the camps.
It was interesting to read about the specifics of the time of the internments, such as the schools, the assemblies, and the marching band that had greeted them at Topaz. Uchida tries to provide that bridge of understanding for newer generations of Americans that don’t quite know the tragedies of the Japanese American people. And I found it both important and powerful that she had the ability to be both frank and descriptive with the world her and her family were thrown into.
Final Rating: 4/5
Long Division by Kiese Laymon follows two narratives that are closely tied together. The first begins with a boy in 2013 named City, who becomes famous overnight from a speech at a national sentence contest. The second narrative follows another boy, by the same name, living in 1985, where he finds a time portal to 1965 and 2013. The characters and themes of each part look to tackle race and racism in America.
What I found interesting and fairly fun is the way the novel is self-referential. In the story, there is a book also called Long Division that acts as a side character for both City’s, since they each have one part of the book. And I found that the amount of wit and wordplay in the story felt fluid and was engaging.
However, in the last few chapters, there is one scene where a building is about to be lit on fire with the body of Lerthon Coldson in it. But I found it odd that Baize was able to simply put on a song to cause the Klansmen to stop their plan and join in dancing. The premise just felt somewhat inconsistent with the tone and trajectory with the rest of the scene.
Overall, it was a nice read, and the voices of the characters seem they have been written with their age in mind. And finally, I liked how the story ended with a sprinkle of hope to get Baize back from disappearing.
Final Rating 3.5/5
Maxwell Suzuki is a writer, poet, and photographer based in Los Angeles.