ZOOM - Human Rights Book Club
“A vibrant memoir of race, violence, family, and manhood…a virtuosic wail of a book” (The Boston Globe), Survival Math calculates how award-winning author Mitchell S. Jackson survived the Portland, Oregon, of his youth.
This “spellbinding” (NPR) book explores gangs and guns, near-death experiences, sex work, masculinity, composite fathers, the concept of “hustle,” and the destructive power of addiction—all framed within the story of Mitchell Jackson, his family, and his community. Lauded for its breathtaking pace, its tender portrayals, its stark candor, and its luminous style, Survival Math reveals on every page the searching intellect and originality of its author. The primary narrative, focused on understanding the antecedents of Jackson’s family’s experience, is complemented by survivor files, which feature photographs and riveting short narratives of several of Jackson’s male relatives.
Mitchell S. Jackson’s debut novel won the Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence. His honors include a Whiting Award and fellowships from the Cullman Center of the New York Public Library, TED, the Lannan Foundation, the Ford Foundation, PEN, NYFA (New York Foundation for the Arts), and the Center for Fiction. His writing has appeared in The New Yorker, Harper’s Magazine, The New York Times Book Review, The Paris Review, The Guardian, and elsewhere. The author of Survival Math, he is an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Chicago.
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