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Wednesday & THURSDAY
George Pelecanos says that Hard Revolution is “the big ’60s novel I wanted to write for a long time.” But don’t expect hippies. To the working-class blacks Pelecanos is writing about, hippies “were irrelevant.” The Silver Spring author’s 12th novel is a prequel of sorts, revealing the adolescence of Derek Strange, who appeared in previous Pelecanos books as a middle-aged Petworth ex-cop businessman. Hard Revolution tracks Strange from age 12 to 22, through the ’68 riots that devastated the District. Like all Pelecanos books, this one focuses microscopically on the Washington landscape and macroscopically on the local mindscape, exploring how a middle-class black family deals with the violent side of the civil-rights struggle. In addition to such local color as Fort Stevens, Brightwood, and Link Wray, Pelecanos peppers Hard Revolution with a very specific soundtrack, going as far as producing a companion CD. “I wanted to do it going back to King Suckerman,” he says, referring to his bicentennial disco epic. This time, the story swings to a Stax/Volt beat, but not just the hits. Typical of the idiosyncratically precise Pelecanos, the disc includes “Sam and Dave, but not ‘Soul Man,’” and “Percy Sledge, but not ‘When a Man Loves a Woman.’” The CDs are available only online or at book signings—another reason to show up when Pelecanos discusses local history and his increasing body of work at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 10, at Borders, 5871 Crossroads Center Way, Baileys Crossroads, free, (703) 998-0404, and at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 11, at Olsson’s Books & Records, 2111 Wilson Blvd., Arlington. Free. (703) 525-4227. (Dave Nuttycombe)