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Your House Will Pay Reviews

Your House Will Pay by Steph Cha

Your House Will Pay

Steph Cha

4.00 out of 5

4 reviews

Imprint: Faber & Faber
Publisher: Faber & Faber
Publication date: 16 Jan 2020
ISBN: 9780571348213

'Moving, compelling, surprising, funny, explosive, and deeply human - an unforgettable novel.' - Lou Berney, author of November Road In 1991 Shawn, a young African-American teen, his sister Ava, and cousin Ray, set out across LA to a screening of New Jack City.

4 stars out of 5
Jake Kerridge
30 Jan 2020

"The plotting is immaculate"

Set largely in the present day, it alternates between the viewpoints of two characters: second-generation Korean immigrant Grace, who finds her morals and filial feelings in conflict when she discovers that her mother committed a heinous crime three decades ago; and ex-con Shawn, brother of a girl whose life was cut short long ago, who struggles to reconcile the bratty sister he remembers with the angelic prodigy she has become in the accounts of anti-racism campaigners and flame-fanning journalists.

Grace, compelled to seek vicarious absolution on her mother's behalf, tries to befriend Shawn, and when someone exacts belated redress for his sister's murder, it turns into a whodunnit. The plotting is immaculate, but it is as a sensitive study of a killer, a victim and their families that the novel grips.


4 stars out of 5
Lucy Knight
19 Jan 2020

"Cha...is a talented storyteller"

 Jumping around from 1991 to the present, the book takes a lot on, but Cha, who’s interested not just in race but ideas about family and trust, is a talented storyteller, feeding us information gradually as the suspense builds towards uncomfortable revelations and events.

4 stars out of 5
15 Jan 2020

"(a) brilliant novel of violence, revenge and redemption"

Cha provides a masterclass in elegant plotting, dropping new revelations into the narrative with explosive precision. It’s her profound and apparently instinctive understanding of human nature, though, that elevates this book way beyond a mere ripped-from-the-headlines potboiler. She gets, for example, the corrosive ways in which male pride can sometimes lure otherwise rational men into making terrible decisions; she gets the way in which people, even deeply moral people, can sometimes bend and flex their moral codes in order to excuse the actions of their nearest and dearest; and she gets, above all, the intricate and intimate relationships that can develop between those seeking absolution for past crimes and those in a position to grant it.

4 stars out of 5
Sarah Gilmartin
15 Jan 2020

"Steph Cha’s deftly written novel explores Los Angeles in 1991 and 2019"

In terms of backdrop and theme, there are echoes of Sunil Ghasi’s debut from a few years back, Your Heart is a Muscle the Size of a Fist, but Cha’s novel is an original story that seeks to tell two very different sides of a well-documented conflict. Your House Will Pay is an urgent portrait of a time not so long ago where civil blood made civil hands unclean.