Lives Less Valuable
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At the heart of a city, a river is dying, children have cancer, and people are burning with despair. From the safe distance that wealth buys, a corporation called Vexcorp counts these lives as another expense on a balance sheet. But that distance is about to collapse.
Malia is an activist who has fiercely fought the everyday atrocities of environmental racism. After years of watching countless children die, she’s lost faith in the possibility of systemic reform. Dennis is a lawyer who still believes that if enough people have the correct information they will do the right thing. Dujuan is a young street thug torn by a chaos of grief and rage at his little sister’s death. And Larry Gordon is Vexcorp’s CEO.
Their lives converge when Dujuan mugs Malia. Her scornful comparison of Dujuan to Vexcorp triggers a storm inside him. That storm only clears when he identifies the real agent of his pain: Larry Gordon. Injury requires justice, so Dujuan kidnaps Gordon and assembles a rough court to try him for murder. He picks Malia to be the judge because she knows the facts and because, as Dujuan says, “You want this as bad as me.” As bystanders become involved and time runs out, Malia is forced to make grueling moral decisions between survival and loyalty, safety and courage, agency and despair.
Derrick Jensen has written a novel as compelling as it is necessary: with our planet under serious threat, Malia’s decisions face us all.