Great review of Kekla Magoon’s latest novel.
How It Went Down by Kekla Magoon starts with an all-too-familiar scenario: a black teenager, Tariq, is shot by a white man in a poor, urban neighborhood that could take place in any city in America at any point in the recent (or not-so-recent) past. The novel begins with what seems like a straightforward police report and proceeds to tell the story of the shooting’s aftermath through short vignettes, written from the perspectives of various characters connected to Tariq and his death. The story that emerges is far from straightforward and defies our stereotypes at every turn. Readers and characters have to puzzle out the truth about Tariq: was he an innocent bystander or an aspiring member of the Kings (the Peach Street gang)? Was he the victim or the criminal?
At first, there are too many characters, too many emotions, and too many versions of how it went down…
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