Read two consecutive books whose geographies bumped up against each other; one set in Manhattan’s Chinatown, the other set partially in it, as well as the adjacent East Village. Both were excellent in their own respective ways.
How is Patrick Radden Keefe so damn good at writing non-fiction? This doesn’t reach the heights of Say Nothing (really what can?) but it’s a fascinating story in its own right and Keefe tells it well and thoroughly, providing enough detail without larding the narrative. He also takes an eagle’s eye view on economic migration, the plight of Fujianese folk in both China and America, and the complexity of human migration. It was both fascinating and horrifying and I appreciate how he gave Sister Ping the most thorough of examinations to express how while America’s immigration policies are rigged and racist, manipulating them at the cost of human lives doesn’t make you a hero either.
After four attempts spread over ten years, I finally powered through this one! I knew I’d be able to do it once I got the sense of Price’s cadence. And I wound up getting hooked, as I thought I would. This is definitely written by someone who has written for The Wire in that it takes a thorough look at crime and law enforcement. You won’t get any grand pronunciations about the War on Drugs or Mass Incarceration but the power is in the way Price tells the story: these feel like real people going through the same motions that those who have come before them in the LES have done.