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Your Heart Is a Muscle the Size of a Fist (2016)

by Sunil Yapa

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A single day of protests at the Seattle WTO meetings is viewed from multiple viewpoints. The police chief, several officers, trained protesters and suburban families seeking change. They all converge in an encounter with escalating conflict and violence. As we reach the climax, we bounce from character to character with greater urgency and frequency, thus heightening the tension. This is not a book for the queasy. The depiction of police brutality is horrifying. Well written and gripping.
  michigantrumpet | Sep 28, 2017 |
This was a difficult book. It is full of chaos and violence, both in its substance and its writing style. I found myself wondering how many of the specifics actually happened, as some were so extreme. The characters are all complex, with multiple dimensions, but there was only one I really liked (Charles). It isn't a "fun" read, but it raises a lot of important themes and issues.
  Vasquez | Mar 17, 2017 |
This moving, disturbing book about the WTO protests in Seattle drew me and and wouldn't let me go. The last forty pages were difficult to read as they were an unflinching look at violence and how it arises. Despite the brutality in it and the terror it portrays, it is an oddly hopeful book. ( )
  eachurch | Mar 3, 2017 |
This book is set during a single day in 1990 in Seattle, Washington. The story of the World Trade Organization protests are told through the eyes of police officers and protesters and diplomats. I appreciated this book for trying to represent multiple perspectives on the complex issues that were at play in these events. At the same time, the author had the challenge of creating backstories for these characters with whom we spend only one day. There were times when I wanted to understand the characters and their motivations more deeply, but Yapa succeeds on many fronts, providing a sense of the inevitability of the events that played out that day. There were also moments of beautiful and spare writing, including these:

"This was a man with the days stitched into his skin."

"What a violence of the spirit to not know the world."

"The world was a bottleful of sparkling darkness and cops the ones charged with keeping the cork in while the rich shook and shook." ( )
  porch_reader | Jan 9, 2017 |
I took this off the TBR shelves and wondered why I'd bought it...it didn't seem like my kind of book. Bu once I got into it, I couldn't put it down. This is the story of the protests against the WTO meetings in Seattle in 1999. It it told from various perspective, including the protesters, the police, and a Sri Lankan delegate trying to gain entry to the meetings, and for his country into the WTO itself. Often brutal, but always compelling and complex. Guess my instincts in buying the book were right after all! ( )
  LynnB | Dec 30, 2016 |
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For my parents: My father, who taught me how to see the world; My mother, who showed me how one might love it
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The match struck and sputtered.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0316386537, Hardcover)

The Flamethrowers meets Let the Great World Spin in this debut novel set amid the heated conflict of Seattle's 1999 WTO protests.

On a rainy, cold day in November, young Victor--a boyish, scrappy world traveler who's run away from home--sets out to sell marijuana to the 50,000 anti-globalization protestors gathered in the streets. It quickly becomes clear that the throng determined to shut the city down--from environmentalists to teamsters to anarchists--are testing the patience of the police, and what started as a peaceful protest is threatening to erupt into violence.

Over the course of one life-altering afternoon, the lives of seven people will change forever: foremost among them police chief Bishop, the estranged father Victor hasn't seen in three years, two protestors struggling to stay true to their non-violent principles as the day descends into chaos, two police officers in the street, and the coolly elegant financial minister from Sri Lanka whose life, as well as his country's fate, hinges on getting through the angry crowd, out of jail, and to his meeting with the president of the United States.

In this raw and breathtaking novel, Yapa marries a deep rage with a deep humanity, and in doing so casts an unflinching eye on the nature and limits of compassion.

(retrieved from Amazon Fri, 10 Jul 2015 03:01:14 -0400)

Follows seven different people, including a marijuana dealer and his estranged police chief father, who have their lives altered one afternoon in Seattle during the WTO protests that tried to shut the city down in 1999.

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