The New Yorker Briefly Reviews Ryan Gattis’ novel “All Involved” About Los Angeles’ 1992 Riots

150511_r26493-320ALL INVOLVED, by Ryan Gattis (Ecco). This novel, set in Los Angeles in 1992, chronicles the six days of riots after the Rodney King verdict. The action takes place on the periphery, outside “active rioting sites” and official casualty counts. A sprawling cast of characters, linked by violence, includes gang members, innocent bystanders, emergency personnel, and civilians turned vigilantes. Gattis employs shifts of perspective that blur the division between victims and perpetrators. It is plain that the desperation in these characters’ lives is not an anomaly; the riot does not create but, rather, exposes an already endemic brutality. “There’s a hidden America inside the one we portray to the world,” a firefighter observes. The novel, simultaneously empathetic and unsparing, succeeds in making this visible.

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