Literary Disco Discusses Steph Cha’s Your House Will Pay
Julia, Rider, and Tod on Hit 2019 Crime Novel
On today’s episode, Julia, Rider, and Tod discuss Steph Cha’s 2019 novel Your House Will Pay, a book set in Los Angeles that follows two families on opposite sides of a racially charged shooting. They ask the question: is this the greatest novel about Los Angeles in the last 25 years?
From the episode:
Julia: This is one of the most emotionally ambitious books I think I’ve ever read. I know I’m a hyperbolic person. I don’t know what is up with weird categorization of like Asian or Asian-American stories. To me, this is not a thriller, just like Parasite wasn’t a horror movie. I’m just like, this is a book of pain and sorrow and like reckoning as well as Parasite. But I thought the feel of Grace’s half of the book, a coming-of-age story where your parents could secretly be completely fucked-up was so compelling. I mean, of all their perspectives to choose in this family, it was just really riveting for me and just so painful and so sad and complex. The other half of the story I love too. Again, no easy answers. I think that’s really the point of this novel. It’s sort of like a crystal ball that you’re spinning around to find where the top is, and there’s no top or bottom of this story.
Tod: It’s a good metaphor for real. Well put, Julia.
Julia: I just say stuff. I will say, people have so much certainty over social justice and racism and extremely strong feelings and opinions. But to make that choice, to have it be so difficult, is just really brave. I just really admire this writer for going for it. That was my experience of the book.
Tod: I think it’s the best novel about Los Angeles that I’ve read in twenty five years. Why? It it actually touches on every aspect of L.A. culture in a way that it hangs a mirror without judgment on every aspect of it. And if you understood the geography a little bit better, Julia, it would be even more profound for you.
Julia: Yeah, it’s like no experience of this as an L.A. novel. I was so in character that I wasn’t really thinking of it as a portrayal of place.
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