When you think Fight Club, you think Tyler Durden. When you think Catcher in the Rye, you think Holden Caulfield. Memorable books simply have memorable characters—the ones so complex that you lose your mind right along with them. And by the end of the book you have married Holden and gone to Tyler’s funeral (before you realize that he is not actually dead, of course).
These are the types of characters living in Greg Jackson’s first collection of short stories, Prodigals. They are writers, architects, and tennis pros who have led delightfully spoiled lives and are reaching the tipping point to enlightenment. They are not shy in their behavior or reserved in their language; rather, they are finding new ways to abuse drugs and are brash about their own shortcomings. In a New York Times review, Dwight Garner commented that “These characters play rough, and for keeps,” and continued, “What makes these stories radiant, rather than merely prickly, is how invested Mr. Jackson is in peeling off the rind, in getting to the juice.” Jackson manages to level the reader with the character, forcing both through the meat grinder of introspection until they reach the end, happily or not.