Prodigals

Stories

Greg Jackson

Published: 1 September 2016
Paperback, B Format
129x198mm, 240 pages
ISBN: 9781783782017
£8.99

Overview

Adrift in lives of possibility and limitation, the flawed, struggling and sympathetic characters of these desperate, eerie stories seek refuge from meaninglessness and boredom in love, art, friendship, drugs, and sex. A journalist is either the guest or captive of a reclusive former tennis star at his mansion in the French hills; a terrible storm forces a man and a woman, who may be his therapist, to flee New York together; the artistic ambitions of a banker are laid bare when he comes under the influence of two strange sisters.

Unflinching, funny and profound, Prodigals maps the degradations of contemporary life - from the deification of celebrity, to the impotence of violence, to the psychological debts of privilege, to the loss of grand narratives - with unusual insight, sincerity, and passion. It is a fiercely honest and heartfelt look at what we have become, the comedy of our foibles, and our longing for home.


About the author

Image of Greg Jackson

Greg Jackson has been a writing fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center, MacDowell Colony, and the University of Virginia's MFA program. A winner of the Balch and Henfield Prizes and a finalist for the 2014 National Magazine Award in Fiction, his short stories have appeared in the New Yorker, Granta, and VQR. More about the author


Reviews

‘[A] deeply felt and sparklingly erudite collection...Jackson's exquisite prose calls to mind David Foster Wallace and Ben Lerner, but his preoccupation with the demise of romance, wonderment and spirituality in our hyper-knowing age seems entirely his own’

Close

Reviews

Prodigals is elegant and unpredictable. These stories of bewilderment, heartbreak and psychotropics will charm you with their humor and stun you with wisdom that's both rigorous and compassionate’ Catherine Lacey, author

Prodigals is that rare treat: a narrative inquiry into the nature of narrative that is neither tedious nor tired, that takes itself just seriously enough. His lyric virtuosity is thrilling, his sensibility acute and nuanced, but it was something deeper than either of these things that ultimately compelled me in these stories: It was a genuine sense of searching-without irony or apology, with fierce intelligence-for what might constitute a meaningful life’ Leslie Jamison, author

‘As the eponymous prodigals squander their emotions and passions, their recklessness reveals hilarious and agonizing insights into the lost dreams of youthful ambition. Jackson proves himself a dexterous, compelling new talent... [A] daring and innovative collection’

‘Compelling’ Alastair Mabbott

‘Excellent... These stories, peopled by characters not always likeable but blessed with a hyper-articulate and self-awareness, are particularly concerned with ambiguous relationships and sing with a life force which is witty, ugly, dazzling and true’ Claire Allfree

‘Greg Jackson is an explosive writer, seriously funny, deeply serious. Prodigals is a memorable, powerful debut, full of dark splendor, and it's clear that Jackson is here to stay’ Sam Lipsyte, author

‘Greg Jackson is an uncommonly good writer - wickedly funny and deeply perceptive - and Prodigals is one of the most absorbing, intelligent, and unnervingly dead-on collections I've read in ages. I loved it’ Molly Antopol, author

‘Greg Jackson's stories are deft, compact, intelligent, and beautifully aimed. The short story, in our accelerating present, has advantages over its bulkier and slower-moving rival, the novel. Jackson exploits such advantages in these fractal-like captures of moments and sequences from our current disorders’ Norman Rush, author

‘Inventive, daring, and exhilarating, the stories in Prodigals offer a vital, volatile mix of style and heart, slyness and candor. Read these stories and find yourself newly awake, thin-skinned to the world’ Maggie Shipstead, author

‘Jackson's funny, vibrant and insightful storytelling, highs and lows included, makes you wish you were there... A terrific writer and Prodigals deserves to be on your reading list’ Paul Wilson

‘Literature was born to delve into our infinite desires and disappointments... Prodigals, a debut work by the American Greg Jackson, draws on the very same rich vein - but then slams back a cocktail of stories that leaves the reader flying... Prodigals oozes cool... Jackson's stories are not only fresh and innovative, his words fizz with an acid tang. Moreover, the sharpness of human observation - the bare-naked honesty on display here - is eye-watering... Jackson is style conscious - he not only wants to tell a good tale but titillate with its construction. Others will similarly experiment and fail but Jackson pulls it off... To witness the arrival of a new voice - one that rises above the cacophony on merit alone - is a rare privilege. And without doubt, Greg Jackson is just that - the real thing’ Tamim Sadikali

‘So bold and perceptive that it delivers a contact high... there's that sense [...] that whatever topic the author turns his mental LED lights toward will be powerfully illuminated... Radiant’

‘This debut collection ponders how we came of age today, now that the old signifiers - marriage, career, kids - are by no means guaranteed. It shines a spotlight on a privileged 1 per cent to whom everything seemed possible until it wasn't’

‘This ultra-contemporary collection evokes a rarefied world of hyper-educated, over-stimulated people caught in the grip of their own privileged consciousness. Transcendence-seekers find themselves earthbound as art, drugs, role-playing, and material goods serve as temporary balms for the anomie of modern life. The elusive cure is love, and Jackson nails the way sophisticated, hard-bitten entanglements give way to sudden surges of old-fashioned romance. Jackson writes with terrific fluency, wielding Fitzgeraldian phrases as he presses through to endings full of feeling’ Matthew Thomas, author

‘Unique - and often very funny too. 'Wagner in the Desert' is both hilarious and unsettling, as is the incredibly witty and surprisingly sad reflection on loneliness in 'Epithalamium'... Jackson at his best [is] able to veer between hilarity and soul-crushing sadness in a matter of words, while also building a sense of unease throughout... A thing of beauty - balanced, entertaining, incisive and poignant. Prodigals is a remarkable debut'’ Patrick Kelleher





 
Mind Unit - websites, content management and email marketing for the arts