Friday, September 13, 2013

Friday Freebie: The Residue Years by Mitchell S. Jackson

Congratulations to Jennifer Myllymaki, winner of last week's Friday Freebie twin mega-pack of fiction: The Woman Who Lost Her Soul by Bob Shacochis and Telegraph Avenue by Michael Chabon.

This week's book giveaway is The Residue Years, the debut novel by Mitchell S. Jackson which has just been published Bloomsbury.  For those of you who want a taste of Jackson's writing, check out his earlier contribution to the My First Time series here at The Quivering Pen about desperately trying to get final edits on the novel back to his editor on time:
Picture: it’s near midnight one Thursday in May and my FINAL deadline is Friday.   Picture me drowsing over the aforementioned thick-ass slab despite the fact that I’ve downed a couple of Red Bulls, an extra-strength Five Hour Energy, and uncountable mugs of caffeinated green tea (I don’t fool with that coffee).  Picture me engaged in the kind of last-minute editing that publishers charge extra for and also checking to obsession my watch.  Can you imagine?  Time tick-tick-ticking and turning my nerves into a fireworks show.  Me losing hope by the millisecond that I’d be able to improve the work.  Me trying my damnedest not to overmind selftalks that have digressed from, “Don’t worry, we can make it,” to “ You think we can we make it?” to “Ain’t no way we gone make this deadline, player!”
Click here to read the full, dazzling account.

The Residue Years is no less breath-taking in its linguistic loop-de-loops.  Here are the opening lines:
It's years beyond the worst of it, and it's your time, Mom, a time of head starts and new starts and starting and going and not stopping--of re-dos and fixes, of gazing at full moons and quarter-moons and seeing what before were phantasms for-reals.  If this streak keeps up (it will; why not?), you've got the rest of your life, hell yeah it's a life, minus fatmouthing no-accounts.  You hope--no, we hope (you and your eldest) that this year, next year, and the years after are an age of heartbeats, steady breath, and a healing for your harms.
And now a few words from the publisher on behalf of the novel:
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 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.  Honest in its portrayal, with cadences that dazzle, The Residue Years signals the arrival of a writer set to awe.
If you'd like a chance at winning a copy of The Residue Years, simply email your name and mailing address to

Put FRIDAY FREEBIE in the e-mail subject line.  One entry per person, please.  Despite its name, the Friday Freebie runs all week long and remains open to entries until midnight on Sept. 19, at which time I'll draw the winning name.  I'll announce the lucky reader on Sept. 20.  If you'd like to join the mailing list for the once-a-week newsletter, simply add the words "Sign me up for the newsletter" in the body of your email.  Your email address and other personal information will never be sold or given to a third party (except in those instances where the publisher requires a mailing address for sending Friday Freebie winners copies of the book).

Want to double your odds of winning?  Get an extra entry in the contest by posting a link to this webpage on your blog, your Facebook wall or by tweeting it on Twitter.  Once you've done any of those things, send me an additional e-mail saying "I've shared" and I'll put your name in the hat twice.


  1. I couldn't put it down, I found myself having to know what would unfold next and yearning for more when I was finished. The characters kept my heart beating and I ended up caring deeply for their success. I would recommend this book to anyone from any walk of life.