'[A] powerful debut . . . full of impossible hope . . . There is warmth and wit and a hard-won wisdom' Roxane Gay, New York Times Book Review
Winner Whiting Writers' Award
Winner Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence
Finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award for Debut Fiction
Mitchell S Jackson grew up black in a neglected neighbourhood in America's whitest city, Portland, Oregon. In the '90s, those streets and beyond had fallen under the shadow of crack cocaine and its familiar mayhem. In his commanding autobiographical novel, Mitchell writes what it was to come of age in that time and place, with a break-out voice that's nothing less than extraordinary.
The Residue Years switches between the perspectives of a young man, Champ, and his mother, Grace. Grace is just out of a drug treatment program, trying to stay clean and get her kids back. Champ is trying to do right by his mom and younger brothers, and dreams of reclaiming the only home he and his family have ever shared. But selling crack is the only sure way he knows to achieve his dream. In this world of few options and little opportunity, where love is your strength and your weakness, this family fights for family and against what tears one apart.
A fresh new voice in fiction
I know these characters well. I know the language they speak: voices redolent of struggle and the South displaced to our country's far northwestern corner. A wrenchingly beautiful debut
Jackson's dedication to the shadows and unhappiness of his characters shines through - Publishers Weekly
I was touched by characters whose lives were often as real for me as my memories of growing up. The language invented to tell their stories engages, challenges, clarifies the American language, claiming it, enlarging it