21 Mar / Your Heart Is a Muscle the Size of a Fist by Sunil Yapa [in Library Journal]
On an afternoon in November 1999, the 50,000-strong disruption of the World Trade Organization summit in Seattle imploded with tear gas and violence. Sunil Yapa’s debut pivots around teenage runaway Victor, whose initial plans to sell marijuana for profit morphs into tenacious participation with the growing crowds and the realization that he’s ready to abandon his peripatetic journeys and return home to his estranged father.
Interspersed with Victor’s narrative are those of the police chief, two of his officers, two protestors espousing nonviolence, and the Sri Lankan deputy finance minister desperate to save his country.
Aaron Landon’s elastic narration moves seamlessly between youthful, steely determination as Victor, gruffly barking as the police chief, mellifluous and disoriented as the finance minister, and more. His precise attention to pitch, accent, and emotion gives Yapa’s fiction an immediacy that underscores the ongoing collision of crowds and authority, causing tragic headlines throughout the world.
Verdict: The specific history here may be 15-plus years old, and yet the clash of race, class, and power remains evergreen, making this a timely, essential addition to all library collections.