Hush Harbor

Hanover Square: Harlequin. Sept. 2023. 304p. ISBN 9781335449528. $30. F
DEBUT Hush Harbor: it’s the term used for a safe place where enslaved people in the United States could meet to pray. In Vance’s debut, a bold look at a possible next step in the struggle for social justice, it’s also the name given to an abandoned housing project in Bliss City, NJ, taken over by a resistance group after the police shoot an unarmed Black teenager. For them, the issue is not resistance but revolution; it’s too late for protest, lawsuits, and riots, and it’s time to replace white supremacy. As the novel opens, Hush Harbor is surrounded by checkpoints, with the police and National Guard everywhere, and Malik has arrived from North Carolina to join the effort, recruited by a former campus leader at his university. The way they sneak in and about Hush Harbor has the feel of a military operation, which intensifies when the audience meets revolutionary leaders Jeremiah Prince and his sister Nova. But once you have proclaimed revolution, how to proceed? How far will the violence go? As divisions form within the group, the ever-questioning Malik becomes a major force moving to the novel’s visceral, thought-provoking end.
VERDICT Throughout, there’s a sense of edgy anticipation, and not just because of the content. Readers will also understand that they are encountering an exciting new voice in literature.
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