FINALIST for the LOS ANGELES TIMES BOOK PRIZE
Largehearted Boy selection for FAVORITE NOVEL OF 2013 — Flavorwire selection for BEST DEBUT NOVEL OF 2013
Slate selection for BOOKS YOU SHOULDN'T OVERLOOK IN 2013 — Salon selection for YEAR-END BOOK GUIDE
New Statesman selection for BEST NOVEL OF 2014.
BEST OF 2013 selection in Vol. 1 Brooklyn, LitReactor, Chicago Center for Literature and Photography, Conversational Reading, Ryder Magazine, and Seminary Co-Op Bookstore. Acclaim from The Wall Street Journal, Bookforum, Vice, Time Out Chicago, and more!
“Mira Corpora is fine work in its manic pacing and its summoning of certain cultural emblems. Present tense with a vengeance. I hope the book finds the serious readers who are out there waiting for this kind of fiction to hit them in the face.”
– DON DELILLO
“Jeff Jackson is one of the most extraordinarily gifted young writers I've read in a very long time. His strangely serene yet gripping, unsettling, and beautifully rendered novel Mira Corpora has within it all the earmarks of an important new literary voice."
– DENNIS COOPER
"Written in an unforgiving, almost hallucinatory prose, the story follows a young american runaway through a series bleak under—and over—worlds. By avoiding any temptation to literalise or relent into easy judgment Jackson captures both the rush and extreme vulnerability of dispossessed, disregarded youth. Beautiful and horrible, it’s one of the few books to have given me actual nightmares and has stayed with me long after I turned the last page."
- EIMEAR McBRIDE
"Jeff Jackson is a fresh and startling voice in contemporary fiction--a hallucinatory realist whose prose has the scary energy of rock and roll, and who writes with the assurance of a born storyteller."
– DAVID GATES
"There is a scene in this arresting novel in which a group of feral teenagers experience ‘a hushed air of reverence when we confront the lurid and savage details’ of a painting executed by one of their own tribe. The reader would be well-advised to approach Mira Corpora in the same attitude. The prose, in the spirit of Dennis Cooper and Brian Evenson, reads like dispatches from the blackness of a Bill Henson photograph. Jeff Jackson has had his vision, and it is worth a good hard look."
- JUSTIN TAYLOR
"At the centre of this extraordinary novel, Jeff Jackson's voice flickers like some strange beacon of hope: poetic, fragmentary, and brilliant, it startles in fits and bursts; a piercing architecture of memory so powerful it reaffirms my belief that the contemporary can still do remarkable things".
- LEE ROURKE
"Powered by a feral poetry."
- CHLOE ARIDJIS
Mira Corpora is the debut novel from acclaimed playwright Jeff Jackson, an inspired, dreamlike adventure by a distinctive new talent. Literary and inventive, but also fast-paced and gripping, Mira Corpora charts the journey of a young runaway. A coming-of-age story for people who hate coming-of-age stories, featuring a colony of outcast children, teenage oracles, amusement parks haunted by gibbons, mysterious cassette tapes, and a reclusive underground rockstar. With astounding precision, it weaves a moving tale of mad hope and discovery across a startling, vibrant landscape.
2013 BEST BOOK LISTS
- Largehearted Boy
- Vol. 1 Brooklyn
- Chicago Center for Literature and Photography
- Conversational Reading
- Ryder Magazine
- Seminary Co-Op Bookstore
- Dennis Cooper
- Literary critics Kate Zambreno, Andrew Ervin, Kristen Valentine, and Alizah Salerio
Author Laura van den Berg picked Mira Corpora for SALON’s year-end Book Guide:
"To read Jeff Jackson’s Mira Corpora is to enter into a trance state. A hypnotic, brutal, and lyric exploration of youth, trauma and the construction of memory, this novel is like nothing I’ve ever read before and is, unquestionably, one of my favorite books published this year."
SLATE, ‘Most Overlooked of 2013’:
"Why more critics haven't fallen for Jackson’s slyly seductive and utterly gripping voice is a mystery to me—his prose practically crackles and sparks. Like his journey, the narrative is fragmented, a bit fuzzy, and runs on full-throttle the entire time. This punk coming-of-age story smolders long after the book is through.”
FLAVORWIRE, '10 Best Debut Novels of 2013':
“The surreal world of Mira Corpora is one you won’t be able to get out of your head, and the pacing of the book makes for a fast read that you’ll want to revisit immediately.”
LARGEHEARTED BOY, ’11 Best Novels of 2013’:
“Jeff Jackson's Mira Corpora is a masterfully written debut, an often brutal coming of age tale as unsettling as it is brilliant.”
CONVERSATIONAL READING, ‘Best Books of 2013’:
"A miracle: a bildungsroman that leaves what it’s building in ruins, that trashes its hero’s metanarrative like a take-no-prisoners postmodern, and yet, in the reading, proves exciting, swift, and altogether a delight."
CHICAGO CENTER FOR LITERATURE AND PHOTOGRAPHY, ‘Best Books of 2013’:
"This debut novel features a great mix of breakneck pacing, inventive storytelling, memorable scenes, and unforgettable images. It's one of the most original books I read in 2013, but never at the expense of pure entertainment."
VOLUME ONE BROOKLYN, ‘Best Books of 2013’:
“Mira Corpora has been rattling around inside my head for a while since I read it, ultimately to end up here. It creates its own logic: here, it’s through a series of sequences in which its narrator navigates various traumas, all structured around a framing device that hints that he may not have navigated them well at all.”
SEMINARY CO-OP BOOKSTORE, ‘20 Best Books of 2013’:
“If you’re looking for proof that American literature is not stale or dying or dead, or if you're holding out hope that radically new voices are out there waiting to be heard, then read this book. After all, don’t you want to be able to say, one day, that you read Jeff Jackson before everyone else did?”
RYDER MAGAZINE, ‘The Best of 2013’:
“You’ll likely read the thing in one fevered sitting. There’s a feeling, reading these pages, that despite everything that’s happened to Jeff, anything — someone he’s just met, or a mixed tape from a complete stranger — might give the chance to come back to life, to begin again, forever fresh, gone but returning, newness itself a sort of grace.”
ESOTERRORIST, '2013 Favorites'
"What a debut that we all wish we wrote. There is real depth and purpose to Jackson’s experimentation, which makes his otherworldly style all the more satisfying."
Critic Kristen Valentine, ‘Best Books of 2013’:
“A punk rock bildungsroman with an electric hope you can feel just from turning its pages.”
PUBLISHER'S WEEKLY picks Mira Corpora as one of "The Big Indie Books of Fall 2013"
FLAVORWIRE picks Mira Corpora as "Essential Punk Rock Literature" along with titles by William Gibson, Kathy Acker, Dennis Cooper, Lydia Lunch, Justin Taylor, and Aaron Cometbus.
HTMLGIANT, ‘2013 Holiday Shopping Guide – Fiction Recommendations’ and ‘Best Book Covers of 2013’
ALIBI, ‘7 Books that Will Delight This Christmas’:
“Jeff Jackson’s eminently readable Mira Corpora has amassed a mountain of critical acclaim since its October release. I found the novel gorgeous and painful, a coming-of-age tale whose flawlessly balanced sentences mask deep-seated pain. The book seethes with poetic truth submerged in its protagonist’s detached and careful avatar.”
Collage from unused Mira Corpora pages
"Style is pre-eminent in Jeff Jackson's eerie and enigmatic debut, Mira Corpora. The prose works like the expressionless masks worn by killers in horror films—the violence and lunacy that mark Jeff's coming of age are all the more frightening because of the blank face he turns toward them." --Sam Sacks, WALL STREET JOURNAL
"Episodic yet suspenseful, smeared with gutter detritus yet glittering with right-on apercus, the novel delivers both jolts to the spine and food for thought. In the reading, the book often feels like fun. Indeed, all half-dozen episodes, though they never fail to generate that speed and prickle we call suspense, take time for moments of comedy and lovely turns of thought." --John Domini, BOOKFORUM
"There are few coming-of-age-esque novels that don’t make me feel like I’m being lied to, manipulated into caring to the point where I can’t care at all. Mira Corpora is one of those few. It subverts itself and what it came from so many times that by the end you feel like it could have existed no other way." -- Blake Butler, VICE
"The novel’s episodic structure has its purpose: Jackson is less interested in continuous time than freeze-frame moments of high intensity. Writing with conviction and specificity of detail, he makes you feel as if the story could be happening to you." -CHARLOTTE OBSERVER
"Provocative, dreamlike, and just a bit meta, Mira Corpora is an impressive debut. It reads like a bullet, a slow motion bullet time bullet, viewable from multiple angles, like in The Matrix." -LITREACTOR
"Mira Corpora is an astonishing piece of work: the rare experimental novel that also features rocket pacing, the coming-of-age story riding in the wake of a million others that still feels fresh, the story that wears its shock and awe on its sleeve yet still manages to stun. It will amply satisfy readers looking for both depth and entertainment. 9.9 out of 10" -- CHICAGO CENTER FOR LITERATURE AND PHOTOGRAPHY
"A beautiful and intense book, a grimy fever dream in the shape of the fictional autobiography. There is a mesmerizing episode involving a society of runaway children led by a teenage oracle, a cassette tape that might or might not call to mind certain elements of Infinite Jest, and a take-no-prisoners writing style that made me read the entire book in one sitting." -- Andrew Ervin, TIN HOUSE
"You haven't read anything quite like Mira Corpora, the debut novel by Jeff Jackson. It is entirely, precisely itself, as the best art is. I finished the last chapter in a tub long gone cold because I couldn't stop reading, and it felt right to reach the last page naked and pruned and shivering. A swift little miracle of a book." -- Cari Luna, PORTLAND MERCURY
"A mini-masterpiece that is as surreal and suspenseful as any fiction I have read... lovely and satisfying. Reading Mira Corpora, I was able to imagine a world where experimental fiction need not be written for only one small audience but a larger, more diverse one—a world where avant-garde literature can be exciting and dangerous and challenging, but not impossible." -- Benjamin Rybeck, DESTROYER MAGAZINE
"A ripping yarn. Jackson's short, visceral sentences fuel the novel's page-turning momentum. But a hallucinatory quality permeates events throughout. Paintings take on extra dimensions; music has talismanic powers; the city is as feral as the forest. In the meta-fiction tradition of Thomas Pynchon or Stephen Wright, Jackson's story questions our assumptions and demands our participation. Here, a novelist's "mysterious pigments" make for a non-idealized — and far more participatory and compelling — take on the coming-of-age tale." - CREATIVE LOAFING
“I tore through it in less than twenty-four hours. I was ensnared by [Mira Corpora's] strange beauty, entranced by a world in which feral children roam through abandoned theme parks haunted by gibbons, where teenage oracles reign over a dead village, where punk rockers stalk a mysterious rock star."
- ELECTRIC LITERATURE
"Mira Corpora attempts to rewrite the rules of fiction, but for as original as it is, it really is just a wonderful, entertaining book that reads very quickly, and yet, upon reflection, encompasses so many journeys and ideas. Jackson is stunningly talented, and Mira Corpora is as strong a debut as any thus far in 2013. This novel has some clear influences and reflections (Denis Johnson comes to mind), yet is wholly original and creates its own ideas and mythologies." - NECESSARY FICTION
"This is plainspoken yet lyrical prose, captivating, often beautiful. The plot moves deftly, equal parts fever dream and bald reality. Events mostly seem plausible, yet they are often tinged with an air of the surreal, thanks to Jackson’s eye for images that defy easy emotion." - THE VALLEY ADVOCATE
"It reads like an incantation—more like a hex—and to put it down is to break the spell. It’s a séance of a novel with a pace evened as though Jackson took a rolling pin to its telling. Taken as a whole it sweats with sensual profanity and black magic. It’s also surprisingly funny, though you may not get the joke until you’ve read a few pages past it... The way that William Gass has said that The Tunnel isn’t a book, Mira Corpora more resembles the experience of holding a shell to your ear to hear the growing pains of brewing adulthood than curling up with a paperback. Mr. Jackson, please take your seat in the rickety tree house among the Grace Krilanoviches, the Ben Marcuses, the Blake Butlers, the Amelia Grays, and the Lara Glenums." -- Patrick Benjamin, TROP
"It somehow manages to be dreamlike and gripping at the same time, with a voice both breathless and distant." - LARGEHEARTED BOY
"Jeff Jackson’s mesmerizing debut reads like some cross between Bruno Schulz and the backstories of random characters from Penelope Spheeris’ 1984 film Suburbia." --Jason Diamond, FLAVORWIRE
“A gutter punk Catcher in the Rye. One can glimpse the beautiful agitation universal to the coming-of-age experience: tenuous, gullible eagerness; bracing determination; fumbling assertions of independence against cravings for belonging. Mira Corpora develops with the kind of halting detours that instill within our formative years--no matter how devastating and unusual--an invaluable education, to be remembered our whole lives.” -- SHELF AWARENESS
“From feral-child-infested woods to cities wrought with decay, Jackson’s descriptions are alarmingly horrific and yet beautiful. It’s refreshing to see an author craft a novel according to his own vision, and it’s reassuring that there are presses out there who trust their readers’ intelligence enough to publish books like Mira Corpora.” -- THE RUMPUS
"Jeff Jackson’s surreal, wrenching debut novel Mira Corpora is a book we suspect you’ll hear a lot about in the coming months. His ability to evoke the growing perceptions and shifting vantage of his narrator makes the episodic quality of Mira Corpora work especially well." -- VOLUME ONE BROOKLYN
"What’s most compelling—and terrifying... is the originality and execution. [Mira Corpora] has a very cinematic quality to it, like the dreamscapes of a Lynch, or, better, a strange, filmic mash-up of Lord of the Flies, Demian, and House of Leaves, as directed by Harmony Korine. Jackson really captures that quintessential dreamlike quality of Korine’s films in his presentation of unfamiliar versions of familiar settings. This creates a powerful, frightening effect." - IMPOSE
"An original approach to storytelling, one that breathes new and exciting life into the trends of alienated numbness pervading current novels." - HTML Giant
"Jackson’s prose captures a dreamlike tone that gives the reader the experience of walking into an abandoned house of mirrors where every pane of glass is as clouded over and obscuring and oddly beautiful as the next." - FANZINE
"Mira Corpora reminded me that when the story and writing are good, then I will always find a way to get hooked and lose time in the narrative. It is a book to love inexplicably, to lose words over, to be shattered by." - ACTUARY LIT
"Mira Corpora, the visceral debut novel of Jeff Jackson, is a work of startling intensity and punk anguish. More a hallucinatory collage or mix tape than traditional coming-of-age tale. Jackson handles his difficult material with verbal prowess and the eye of a video artist. He averts melodrama by acknowledging the weird and hard truths about growing up that other bildungsromans avoid." - REVIEW OF CONTEMPORARY FICTION
"The truth of Mira Corpora is in its ability to work its way under your skin in its scant 186 pages, turning itself into a slippery memory of your own." - BLACK HEART MAGAZINE
"Jackson achieves what is the ultimate goal in literary art: he creates unbelievable, sometimes fantastic, exaggerated worlds in order to ask and answer the ancient questions: Who are we? Where are we going? From where do we come?" - NECESSARY FICTION
“A heady debut novel. Jackson is a writer whose fiction should be featured and read. Strange and oddly poetic, Mira Corpora offers the type of fiction that engages the reader at a very primal level.” - THE COLLAGIST
"In Mira Corpora, Jeff Jackson’s remarkable nightmarish fugue of a novel, the novel itself becomes the exemplification of the writer’s routine. The novel feels like the beating of a heart, the body of a fledgling waiting to be born. The more you read the more the heart races." - TWEED'S
"I’d characterize Mira Corpora as a seduction. It heightens the pulse and warps the mind with the allure and cliffhangers of a sexy action flick." - FULL STOP
"Mira Corpora is a gripping novel, a reminder that one must remember the worlds that are sometimes glossed over, the people that occupy the inbetween places, and the holes, because the circumference of the fringe is widening." - PRAIRIE SCHOONER
"Through an often sordid and savage phantasmagoria, Jackson, also a playwright blurs the boundaries between the real and the imaginary, creating an unsettling allegory of growth into adulthood." - PUBLISHERS WEEKLY
"A coming-of-age tale for those who came to age with David Lynch." -- WRITERS NO ONE READS
"These 15 Book Need You" - HTMLGIANT
Video review by Christopher Higgs. NBA and Kobe Bryant fans especially will want to take note.
“I picked this book up at Skylight Books, because I needed to read something while waiting for someone - and at the time I was reading the new Pynchon novel. Mira Corpora became a more important book for me to read and finish than Pynchon. Which says a lot to the talent and vision of Jackson.” - THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF TAM TAM BOOKS
“I bet most of the judges of the awards this year were unaware that a man named Jeff Jackson came out with a haunting literary novel about a homeless teenage boy. Too bad for them, because Mira Corpora is one of the best books I’ve read in my life.” - MATTY WRITES