The family at the heart of The Residue Years is among those African Americans who succumbed to offers to sell up, and Mitchell S Jackson’s enthralling, autobiographical, award-winning debut novel (originally published in the US in 2013) is, in essence, the quest for a return to their home, to a physically impoverished yet emotionally rich Eden... Jackson’s writing crackles and sparks with startling insights and descriptions: Grace gets a job from a sympathetic employer who’s “been through the fire and got a soft spot for folks that seen the flame”; Champ is on amber alert for the “mean-mugging misanthropes” whom he mostly evades. Of course, his luck will run out. When eventually robbed by rivals, Mister hands him a gun, adding: “They take from you. They take from me. And we can’t have that problem.” We know, as does Champ, that it’s the final piece of the tragic jigsaw puzzle of his young life. When he’s pulled over by a police patrol, your heart pounds as fast and hard as his.