In The Violence Almanac, Miah Jeffra complicates the boundaries between culture and nature, fiction and true-crime, desire and pain. In this powerful fiction debut, Jeffra takes us through the California landscape to map the various ways that violence emerges, terrorizes and shapes our most familiar social structures. Familiar and real, ripped from headlines yet a fiction all its own, The Violence Almanac vacillates between visceral horror and heartbreaking humanity. With a broad array of voices, these stories paint a portrait of the vastly diverse, complicated, hyper-mediated state of California and the state of ourselves, and blurs the line between safety and danger, love and obsession, victim and agent of violence.
“A river’s edge, if approached too close, can sweep a body beyond itself.” In The Fabulous Ekphrastic Fantastic!, Miah Jeffra perfects apostrophe as canticle, a host of heroes beckoning the reader deeper into the waters of selfhood, Madonna, Mary Shelley, Felix Gonzalez Torres, Plato, and Jeffra’s mother among them. Jeffra explores the nature of gender, sexuality, aesthetics, and love, taking a tiny hammer to the stability of the limits of perception, troubling the tether between perception and memory. At once memoir and cultural criticism, this collection discovers itself as a book about forgiveness, family, and the truths we find in “the lightness of a door,” “the probability of a radio,” the long line between one story and another.
What does it mean to be American, Californian, queer, even creative, in an era of tweeted populism and hashtags? Miah Jeffra examines our new and rapidly changing public life by questioning a few fundamentals—perception, memory, identity, violence, love—in all their complexity, and in their relationship to one other. THE FIRST CHURCH OF WHAT'S HAPPENING is a love letter to humanity and its resilience, even as it wades through divisive politics, social media and technological dissociation.