The Residue Years

Bloomsbury USA. 2013. 352p. ISBN 9781620400289. $26; ebk. ISBN 9781620400302. F
OrangeReviewStarThere is nothing pretty about selling drugs or doing crack, yet Hurston Wright Award winner Jackson makes it literarily beautiful in this debut novel. The narrative alternates between the prospective of Champ, a black college student and drug dealer taking care of his family, and that of his mother, Grace, who has been recently released from a drug clinic. Opening in second person, the novel immediately grabs us, putting us in the place of the protagonists. We see characters as neither villains nor heroes but as simply people trying to do what they feel is right for the family. The beauty of this novel is Jackson's inclusion of wonderful pearls of insight within the gritty story: "There's a huge difference between lowering your standards and adjusting your expectations." Some urban fiction preaches, but Jackson simply tells a wonderful story that resonates long after the book is closed.
VERDICT As with Susan Straight's Between Heaven and Here, this exceptional novel will appeal to readers of literary and urban fiction.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing