by Jeff Jackson
$16, ISBN 978-1-937512-13-2, 182 pages
* 'MY YEAR ZERO,' AN EXCERPT IN
* ORDER FOR $16
To request a galley, write to eric[at]twodollarradio.com.
(September 24, 2013)
"It’s 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."
"Style is pre-eminent in Jeff Jackson's eerie and enigmatic debut. The prose works like the
expressionless masks worn by killers in horror films."
-Sam Sacks, The Wall Street Journal
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, Jackson weaves a moving tale of discovery and self-preservation
across a startling, vibrant landscape.
JEFF JACKSON holds an MFA from NYU and is the recipient of fellowships from the MacDowell Colony
and Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Five of his plays have been produced by the Obie Award-winning
Collapsable Giraffe company.
"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."
"Mira Corpora is a masterfully written debut, an often brutal coming of age tale as unsettling
as it is brilliant."
"[A] mesmerizing debut, which reads like some cross between Bruno Schulz and the backstories of random
characters from Penelope Spheeris’ 1984 film Suburbia. It’s the overarching sensibility that
also puts Mira Corpora in a unique group of books that can only be dubbed Punk Lit."
"A gutter punk Catcher in the Rye."
"Best new books of fall 2013."
-Time Out Chicago
"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."
"Jackson’s voice is gripping. It’s refreshing to see an author craft a novel according to his own vision."
"Jackson’s ability to evoke the growing perceptions and shifting vantage of his narrator makes the
episodic quality of Mira Corpora work especially well."
-Vol. 1 Brooklyn
"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."
"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."
"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."
A Questionable Shape
by Bennett Sims
$16.50, ISBN 978-1-937512-09-5, 242 pages
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"A Questionable Shape is a novel for those who read in order to wake up to life, not escape it,
for those who themselves like to explore the frontiers of the unsayable. I envision the core readership
as brilliant and slightly disaffected men and women... fans of Anne Carson, Nicholson Baker, Rivka
Galchen, Juan Rulfo, W.G. Sebald, Henry and William James, and gaggles of Russian and German writers.
[A Questionable Shape] is more than just a novel. It is literature. It is life."
Mazoch discovers an unreturned movie envelope, smashed windows, and a pool of blood in his
father’s house: the man has gone missing. So he creates a list of his father’s haunts and asks
Vermaelen to help track him down.
However, hurricane season looms over Baton Rouge, threatening to wipe out any undead not
already contained and eliminate all hope of ever finding Mazoch’s father.
Bennett Sims turns typical zombie fare on its head to deliver a wise and philosophical
rumination on the nature of memory and loss.
BENNETT SIMS was born and raised
in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. His fiction has appeared in A Public Space, Tin House, and
Zoetrope: All-Story. A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, he currently teaches fiction
at the University of Iowa, where he is a provost postgraduate visiting writer.
"Yes, it's a zombie novel, but also an emotionally resonant meditation on memory and loss."
-San Francisco Chronicle
"Sims demonstrates he isn’t just smart—he’s brilliant; his book’s not beautiful—it’s gorgeous. It’s
sensitive, insightful and ruminative, which aren’t always things you get to say about zombie fiction,
let alone most books."
-The L Magazine
"Brilliantly sensitive, whip-smart... Sims’ genius lies in how he builds a terrifically engrossing and
utterly unique novel, not in spite, but rather because of the familiarity of the material. A book that
is just as touching and funny as it is riotously smart."
"[A Questionable Shape is] much more W.G. Sebald than George A. Romero. And I loved it.
Bennett Sims: you are a brilliant writer. A Questionable Shape was a huge success for me.
It’s easily one of the best books I’ll read this year."
"With nods to Hamlet and Orpheus (not to mention Tarkovsky and Wittgenstein), Sims’s novel is a
learned debut informed not just by erudition, but by nature, desire, and the persistence of memory."
-KRUI Lit Show
"Spectacular ... makes us turn the pages faster than a scene of survivors frantically boarding up a
farmhouse ever could."
"Deeply thoughtful... Full of footnotes and digressions, the novel is both a dark adventure story and
a meditation on what it means when someone you love is lost to you."
-Poets & Writers
"A Questionable Shape is the best book I have read this year. I suspect it will still hold top
honors when the year comes to a close many months hence. A Questionable Shape is unquestionably
a major accomplishment."
"This ain’t your granddaddy’s zombie-apocalypse. Everything in Bennett Sims’s stunning debut court
s a topographical and invasive examination of the human condition through our inverse. The architecture
of zombie-logic is rewired, and the undead become symbolic for what it means to exist in all its
physical and existential, its beauty and brutality."
"Bennett Sims is a writer fearsomely equipped with an intellectual and linguistic range to rival a young
Nabokov's, Nicholson Baker's gift for miniaturistic intaglio, and an arsenal of virtuosities entirely
his own. A Questionable Shape announces a literary talent of genre-wrecking brilliance."
"Bennett Sims' A Questionable Shape is a book I feel like I've been searching for for years but have
yet to find, until now. Sims' humble, cerebral, and addictively engaging narrator, comfortable
expostulating on videogames as well as Wittgenstein against the backdrop of a zombie apocalypse,
marries highbrow to low, blends genre conventions with a ravenous intellectual curiosity and depth,
and delivers one of the bravest, funniest, and strangest narratives I've come across in recent memory.
At times you'll find yourself comparing it to Thomas Bernhard, David Foster Wallace, or Nicholson Baker,
and then find the comparison lacking, not because this book is in any way inferior to these writers,
but because it is as good or better, and moreover, unlike them in that it is its own bizarre animal,
idiosyncratic and utterly new."
"In A Questionable Shape everything is questioned – love, family, memory, the way we lead our
lives. Even loss itself seems obsolete in these worn out Zombified days. And yet, out beyond
the margins of genre, two young men embark on a search as worthy as Walker Percy’s in The Moviegoer,
taking us into a fascinating textual netherworld of footnotes full of Heidegger and haiku, leading us
on a journey as ancient and true as a son’s desperate search for a father whose undead life may not
be worse than the broken existence he left behind. Bennett Sims brings an allusive genius energy
to everything from YouTube to Euripides in this inquiry into what survives the onslaught, in a
world–our world, we come to recognize—suffering a major case of apocalypse fatigue."
"A Questionable Shape is part George A. Romero, part Thomas Bernhard - as much an epistemology
of the zombie as it is a thriller. So fascinating are its explorations - and, within the
constraints of its topic, so wide-ranging - that reading it I often had the unusual experience of
pausing to wander down some byway of thought and finding myself unable to say whether I had ventured
there independently or was remembering a footnote from earlier in the book. It's playful, absorbing,
bittersweet, and intelligent, and, like a bite, it gets under your skin."
"How would the textures of ordinary life be altered by the return of the recently dead? What would
zombie consciousness itself be like? Would it gravitate toward the most powerful memories and
impressions of life? Or is a zombie a creature on whom habit operates more powerfully than
novelty? In A Questionable Shape, the spectacular horror of zombies has been removed to
the background. Instead, this novel is about walking, driving, reading, waking up, going on dates,
taking care of friends and parents and children, grocery shopping. It also includes some of the
most exquisite descriptions of light that I have ever read. Striking, beautiful, funny, and not
like anything else."
FREQUENCIES: Volume 2
Essays by Sara Finnerty, Roxane Gay, Alex Jung, Aaron Shulman, Kate Zambreno
$10, ISBN 978-1-937512-08-8, 160 pages
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Niche dating sites are interesting. You can go to JDate or Christian Mingle or Black People Meet
or any number of dating websites expressly designed for birds of a feather to flock together. If
you have certain criteria, you can find people who look like you or share your faith or enjoy having
sex in furry costumes. No one is alone in their interests, not anymore.
-Roxane Gay, from her essay ‘Feel Me. See Me. Hear Me. Reach Me.’ in
It interprets the Thai formulation of sexuality as, essentially, heteroflexible. You can have
sex with any man you want! The fantasy is enough to power an industry.
-Alex Jung, from his essay 'Thailand's Great Gay Imaginarium' in
Frequencies: Volume 2 features original work by Sara Finnerty on ghosts, Roxane Gay on
issues of belonging in Black America, Alex Jung on the gay sex trade in Thailand, Aaron Shulman on a
frontier town of Guatemala, Kate Zambreno on Barbara Loden, and more to come!