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Mira Corpora

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  697 ratings  ·  131 reviews
Mira Corpora is the debut novel from acclaimed playwright Jeff Jackson. It's a coming-of-age story for people who hate coming-of-age stories. A journey across a shifting dreamlike landscape, featuring feral children, teenage oracles, mysterious cassette tapes, and a reclusive underground rockstar.

With astounding precision, Jackson weaves a moving tale of discovery and mad hope a
Paperback, 182 pages
Published September 24th 2013 by Two Dollar Radio (first published January 1st 2013)
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Average rating 3.93  · 
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 ·  697 ratings  ·  131 reviews

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Jeff Jackson
Aug 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
Right, so I wrote this. But if you're my Goodreads friend, I think there's a solid chance you'll like it, too. A quick rundown: The novel received advanced praise from Don DeLillo, Dennis Cooper, David Gates, Chloe Aridjis, and Justin Taylor. And it's a Finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize.

Slate picked it as one of the "Books You Shouldn't Overlook in 2013." Salon chose it for their "Year-End Book Guide." Flavorwire selected it as one of the "10 Best Debut Novels of 2013." It's also go
Sep 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing

Our platitudes about carrying on sound listless, like speeches at an infant's wake.

Jeff Jackson hews words and sentences out of the English alphabet that result in the literary equivalent of a swan ice sculpture. The melting, dripping thing is beautiful, but we must never forget that it took a chain saw and a finely-pointed ice pick to create - implements of inherent danger to achieve its end. His craft is evocative, his imagery stuns, his characters shine.

Stray dogs lick discarded alka/>Stray
Vit Babenco
Jan 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
After some linguistic investigation, I found out that Mira Corpora means ‘miraculous bodies’ in Latin. The novel is a gallery of the dreamlike studies painted with the surrealist’s bold brush.
The night is populated with shining green eyes. The pack of stray dogs surrounds me. They sniff the air and growl. Twitching noses, bristling whiskers. I remain perfectly still. When one of them bares its yellow teeth, I start to wail. A wet warmth spreads through my pants. They circle closer. There aren’t so man/>
Oct 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is what Scott Bradfield tried, and failed to do with his novel A History of Luminous Motion. But, whereas Bradfield's exquisite prose and young narrator were a conflicting mismatch of form and figure, Jackson hits the right tone at the right time for the narrator as he grows from age six to eighteen and beyond.

The book starts with short, terse paragraphs, memories-as-vignettes with the staccato lurching of fragmented memories, in a similar style as Ben Marcus' early works. As the narrator ages, the writ
Paquita Maria Sanchez
Dec 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: literature, usa
I'm not generally one to rally for half-stars because (all) decisions are hard enough for me without complicating things like the book-scoring system further, but in this case, I wish I had them. This is a 4.89 not rounded-up for fear of showing favoritism to things like experimentally-friendly small-presses, nice-seeming goodreaders, ridiculously beautiful cover designs, folks who come from darkly complicated and impoverished childhoods, and the opinions of Don DeLillo. Pretty awesome, though, ...more
Nate D
Aug 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: runaways with pack-room for only a single totem
Recommended to Nate D by: rumors spread by feral children in the substratum of a shadow America
I usually don't review books by GR friends, when such are offered, because I'd probably be overly harsh as some kind of overcompensation for favorable bias. Put differently, friends have to work harder to impress me if I'm approaching their work in any critical manner. Which is why I'm especially happy about how good Jeff Jackson's debut novel is. I don't have any reservations about its excellence.

Mira Corpora presents itself in an explanatory Author's note as an adaptation of Jeff J
David Katzman
Jul 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Mira Corpora is one hell of a bleak book. And it packs quite an emotional wallop. I found very little positivity or hope within the text, but perhaps there was some lurking outside the story. I'll get to that in a bit.

Mira Corpora takes place in essentially six chapters with interludes at the beginning, middle and end. It's quite precisely structured for a book that is about pain, child abuse and the failure of society to care for its children. Each chapter features our main character, named Jeff, at a differe/>Mira
Lee Klein
Aug 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
Author's good citizenship on this site compelled this daily goodreads dweller to order his book, thinking maybe it doesn't seem up my alley (Dennis Cooper blurb etc) but what the hell it's Christmastime and I've spent the year reading ancient Austrian/German lit without too many peeks at contemporary Americans published outside the NYC oligarchy. The novel immediately fires you fifty pages in, with brief bits and lots of white space, before it settles down into comparatively traditional yet rele ...more
I record the events of my life, filling up one notebook after another. Maybe I’m not getting the details exactly right, but it doesn’t matter. The strict facts hold no currency here. What counts is the saliva I just spat on this very sheet of paper.
Jeff Jackson’s first book considers the formative years, those crucial years that see us coming into our own individuality and subjectivity while faced with traumas, trials, and, in this case, ever so many dogs who seem to be hungry for their pound of fle
Ben Winch
Mar 02, 2014 rated it liked it
It’s funny how people get hung up on the landscape of a book – on its surface. Mira Corpora a “punk rock” novel? On the basis of what, its subject matter? Yeah, it tells a wild story, but the telling of it is anything but wild. Slick, professional, meticulously edited, this is a careful emergence into the limelight.

Me, I find meaningful similarities with mild-mannered sometimes-children’s author Russell Hoban, whose characters seem powered by algorithms. Like robots they cross and re-cross the sam
Sep 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
It's a rare day when I read a contemporary novel, and when I do, its fantastic when I read a great one. Jeff Jackson's "Mira Corpora" is an amazing series of short narratives about a youth growing up in a world of pain and misery. The lead character's name is "Jeff Jackson" but I am not sure if its true or not - and to me that's not important. What is important is the visual images I get from his writing - slightly surreal, with a mixture of horror and beauty.

The image that stays with me the mo
Aug 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: this is my first funeral
Recommended to Mariel by: honesty best policy
In my dream, I'm convinced these stories contain the secret of my own destiny. As he unfurls his saga, the creature observes me with its kind golden eyes.

Windows not a part of them. Doors shut in walk through walls ghost faces. All of their haunted eyes living next year going on yesterday. Maybe lights will turn inside them.

But until then they'll make prophecies of truck driver's brutal orgies, savage in oracular smugness. Run away where there are no pasts the freedom to accept unspoken bon
Dec 31, 2013 rated it really liked it
Before Jeff Jackson’s debut novel, Mira Corpora, even begins it defines itself in contradiction. There is the typical disclaimer for works of fiction: “All names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the author’s lively imagination,” but on the next page a note reads: “This novel is based on the journals I kept while growing up… Sometimes it’s been difficult to tell my memories from my fantasies, but that was true even then.” Such is the first of several enveloping mechanisms at wor ...more
Peter Tieryas
Apr 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
It’s a crime I’ve taken this long to finally read Jeff Jackson’s Mira Corpora. It’s in some ways a fable, in others, an allegory, and in yet others, one of the most fascinating takes on the bildungsroman. It defies linearity while embracing it, and weaves the chaotic transformation of youth to adulthood in bestial beauty. Fiction, biography, poetry, and flash melt into one another, sort of the way our own childhoods are a blurry set of photos and VHS tapes that get mired in the creative static o ...more
Dottie B
Aug 20, 2014 rated it it was ok
DO NOT be fooled by the pretty pink cover or title! I kept on waiting for Mira to show up and save the day but she never did. What's up with that? I would have given the book one star but I like the name Mira so I tacked one on for good measure. I know this publisher is a local operation. The pretty young girl at the bookshop told me so. She claimed this was a family run operation. Curious what kind of family would put this out? Maybe the Adams Family LOL. Seriously. I felt very bad for the litt ...more
Richard  Thomas
May 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Mira Corpora is a lush and unsettling read, one that hypnotizes as it cause you to unhinge, your emotions unfurling, coming undone, from the inside out. A powerful book. Poetic and lyrical in its darkness.
Aug 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: american-fiction
I hate coming-of-age stories.

Inevitably, they seem to rely on a combination of emotional manipulation, cheap epiphanies and boring nostalgia in order to really 'work.'

That's what makes Jeff Jackson's Mira Corpora such a refreshing, strange and often alarming read. Its powered by an almost trancelike style that never attempts to pull for your typical emotional effect. Instead we follow along as Jackson, apparently pulling from his own traumatic childhood and adolescence, w
Adam Floridia
Feb 06, 2014 rated it liked it
Dark. Edgy. Surreal. Unsettling. My vocabulary is failing me right now, but other words along those lines.

The writing was solid; I just never felt like I got a firm foothold in the book. There was definitely a chronology, a loose plot, but I had trouble discerning the big picture. Unlike a random character at the end, I wasn't "Picking up pieces on the fly, amazed at how easily seemingly random events slot into their proper places, suggesting a previously unknown pattern he simply has to follow
Jan 11, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2014
3.5. With the artfagsploitation cover art (complete with soft touch matte finish on the cover stock) and a big blurb from Big Daddy Dennis himself, I was expecting something Cooperesque -- cruel, senseless, and unrelenting in its violence and anger. Nothing wrong with that, but I feel like that whole "rent boi in extremis" thing has been done so often by so many now that it's become almost a default, cliche voice for young, queerish first time novelists.

Well shame on me. While yes, J
May 05, 2014 added it
One of those books about youth that would never get shelved as YA but it ought to be. This book is like Lord of the Flies set to a Babes in Toyland song (with oracles!). I'm zero percent surprised that the author said in an interview that his dream director for a film adaptation would be Harmony Korine.
Jim Taone
Sep 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
A very inventive coming-of-age tale. Subversive where others may be sentimental. Quick pace makes it a very quick and energetic read. I look forward to seeing how Jackson's voice emerges in his future works.
Bud Smith
May 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is in my top ten books. It knocked Huckleberry Finn off the list and then it went down into the scummy ditch where Huckleberry Finn was and it slit Huckleberry Finn's throat. So yeah, love this book. Five stars.
Apr 25, 2019 rated it liked it
Having read only a handful of books published by Two Dollar Radio, about half of which were by Rudy Wurlitzer, I note similarities between Jeff Jackson’s MIRA CORPORA and another book they put out, Grace Krilanovich’s ORANGE EATS CREEPS, both something like baroque gothic fantasias featuring runaway youth and ample misadventure of a colourfully sordid nature. My contention would be that ORANGE EATS CREEPS is by some measure the superior book, though there can be no denying that Jeff Jackson’s in ...more
Lee Foust
Feb 11, 2015 rated it liked it
In an effort to renew the grand old tradition of literary realism, the Modernists added the first person narrator to the great American novel--it lent an air of authenticity to those old, disembodied omniscient narrators of the 1800s, it made a narrative more plausible, it allowed for the subjective nature of so-called reality, and was easier to stomach. After the Second World War the Post-Modern novel began a process of destabilizing the first person narrator, of questioning the voice that tell ...more
Xian Xian
This book received a lot of well-deserved hype in the small press world. Sadly, I will probably not see this in Barnes N' Nobles or Book Outlet. I also won't write a good enough review for it either. No sympathy tears, I just finished this awhile ago, and when that happens it's hard to get words for it. You can also blame summer laziness in my tardiness of getting stuff down. But I don't think I will be forgetting this book anytime soon. I guess like I did with MW, I will be doing a listicle rev ...more
Robert Vaughan
Jan 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I'm not sure if it's because I read this entire book while flying home from Mexico. Or because I'd just finished Haints Stay, another fantastic Two Dollar Radio book. Or because as a kid, I also kept journals, wrote down my dreams, and have not visited them, as Jackson claims he has. There could be about a thousand other reasons why this book has stayed inside me. It's visceral, and dream-like. Ghostly. Scary. Dark. Hallucinogenic. And also Jackson's own background as a playwright does seem appa ...more
Mason Jones
Feb 02, 2014 rated it liked it
I enjoyed this book, despite the fact that when I finished it I didn't feel completely satisfied. Jackson's writing is very nice, elegant and vivid without being overblown. The story is nicely told -- a boy suffering a traumatic childhood runs away from home at age 12, falls in with wild children living in the woods, eventually moves on from there, and all does not always go well. The book can be very intense, but at times it can be sort of playfully magical as well. Unfortunately, the end doesn ...more
Michael Seidlinger
Jul 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
We all have rituals to live by, certain routines that would turn our lives upside down if omitted. It feels a whole lot like knowing that you’re forgetting to do something but no matter what you do to try to recover the thread it is too late. You’ll remember later, when it’s no longer relevant. We abide by certain actions, repetitions of blinking or breathing, certain poems and prayers that outline our days. It isn’t special what we do; rather, why we develop those rituals and routines, well tha ...more
Sep 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: prose, 1970-present
Really well-written stuff, dark and bleak and fast-paced, existing in that most fertile region between the real(ist) and the uncanny. Thrilling to read contemporary fiction belonging neither to the dominant school of workshop-perfect novelistic exercises with no heart and no balls nor to the school of vapid experiments in wannabe novelty with no discernible connection to human emotions or reality.
Aug 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
"The slow-motion ballet of soundless steps."
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Jeff Jackson's "Destroy All Monsters: The Last Rock Novel" will be published by Farrar Straus & Giroux in October 2018. Like a vinyl single, it has a Side A and Side B which can be read in any order. It's received advanced praise from Don DeLillo, Ben Marcus, Janet Fitch, and Dennis Cooper.

His first novel "Mira Corpora" was a Finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. It was praised by De
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