Hello. What kind of mutant are you?
JULY 25, 2006
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"Ingenious, sensual, gleeful. . . . It demands of its readers only imagination, and rewards them with hilarity, terror, and marvels."
— Jonathan Lethem
"I loved this book. . . . Half Life is twisty and vampy and campy, grotesque, picaresque, droll, and dazzling."
— Kelly Link, author of Magic for Beginners
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Nora and Blanche are a two-headed woman in a looking-glass world where conjoined twins have their own subculture, slang, and self-help books. Nora wants no part of it. She goes in search of the mysterious Unity Foundation, which offers a service they call The Divorce. Clever, contrary, almost completely amoral, Nora will balk at nothing—certainly not murder—to take back what she sees as her birthright: the first person pronoun. Only one person can stop her: Blanche. But Blanche is sleeping.
Or is she? Nora's past begins to surface, accompanied by double-talking double agents, some unusually vocal dead animals, and the quiet click-track of a Geiger counter. What is it Blanche wants? What is it Blanche knows? Who's writing this book, anyway? Nora's questions take her back to her birthplace in the reconstructed ghost town of Too Bad, Nevada, where “Shootout at Noon” comes every day. In a maze of mirrors, self-knowledge can be a matter of life and death.
"Big, ambitious, deeply strange, and strangely riveting."
"Jackson combines the imagination of a born fabulist with the wit of a born satirist, and Half Life -- for a good long stretch, at least -- is a thrilling novel, by turns horrific, heartfelt and hysterically funny."
— Washington Post
"A Molotov cocktail of highly combustible intelligence."
— New York Times
"Half Life is an extraordinarily rich offering. Sexual identity,
personal identity, national identity -- the lonely heart of the human condition gets deliciously disturbing and daring treatment. And what a treat it is to watch Jackson deftly use the Siamese twin's dilemmas as a reflecting glass for our own solo quandaries."
"A remarkably poised and total work."
— Village Voice
"[A] brilliant and funny book."
"Like a queerer Don Delillo, or a sassier Pynchon... This is writing that will turn you on."
— LA Weekly
"Jackson's prose is stunning--sharp and smart, witty and urbane in the extreme."
— Baltimore Sun
"The author has so mastered the art of description that her characters rise from the pages soft and sticky; at times they even smell."
— LA Times
"Jackson's prose is nothing short of dazzling."
— Publishers Weekly