Winner Whiting Writers' Award
Winner Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence
Finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award for Debut Fiction
Finalist for the Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize
Finalist for the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award
Mitchell S. Jackson grew up black in a neglected neighborhood 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 debut autobiographical novel, Mitchell writes what it was to come of age in that time and place, with a breakout 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.” —O, The Oprah Magazine
“Jackson's poetic prose is a joy to read . . . The ways mother and son grapple with social judgment and limited choices are provocative and timely.” —Booklist
“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.” —John Edgar Wideman, author of Fanon, Philadelphia Fire, and Brothers and Keepers
“A writer to be reckoned with; The Residue Years marks the beginning of a most promising career.” —Jesmyn Ward, author of Salvage the Bones and Men We Reaped