The Residue Years, Mitchell S. Jackson


A great, messy, wrenching read; the city Jackson writes about, Portland, is at once so familiar (Oaks Park, MLK, places I've visited, streets I've driven down) and yet undeniably a bit foreign, too. Champ and his mother are extraordinarily drawn, making it all the more gutting to watch them struggle. But the world isn't meant to be an easy ride: "Listen, don't forget this. Don't let this slip your mind," one character, Mister, says. "Most of us, if we're lucky, we see a few seconds of the high life. And the rest are the residue years." It's refreshing to see those years, the little and big struggles, shown in such an unflinching but still somehow tender way.