This is no news to many of us, but in case you’ve missed this: Mitchell Jackson is one hell of a writer. But more importantly, he’s a great person, who consistently brings positive shine to our neighborhood, history, and people. Therefore we’d be wrong if we didn’t send a shout-out to Mitchell Jackson for winning a Whiting Award, the latest award garnered by his autobiographical novel, “The Residue Years”. Jackson was awarded this honor, which also comes with a check for $50,000. “The Residue Years” was also Multnomah County Library’s selection as the “Everybody Reads” title for January 2015. Go cop that if you’ve been sleeping, but before you do, allow these words from the selection committee remind you of what you’ve been missing out on:
Mitchell Jackson writes into Portland like Edward P. Jones writes into Washington, DC, with his judicious left eye on the full hearts of his characters and his vigilant right eye attuned to the wolf at their door. His classically orchestrated novel, The Residue Years, is suffused with humor, lyricism and compassion. It follows the parallel narratives of a mother and son whose lives are shaped by their involvement with drugs. Grace, the mother, recently released from jail, is struggling to stay clean. Her son, Champ, a college student, is dealing on the side, and convincing himself that he’ll avoid being caught. Jackson is a powerfully confident writer, with an unerring ability to embody voices. Grace’s fearfulness and doubt and Champ’s certainty and swagger form striking counterpoints in a story about the way poverty and policy can destroy a family.