NINJAS OF MY GREATER SELF
Ninjas of My Greater Self is a postmodern, coming of age hapa novel about love, literature, travel, and (racial) self-discovery. After struggling with his racial identity for years, getting his heart broken in high school, and missing out on love all together at his hipster liberal arts college, Hidashi flies to Tokyo to track down his Japanese family where he accidentally stops Duran Duran, a famous movie star, from taking her own life as part of a suicide cult. After falling deeply in love, Hidashi and Duran Duran eventually learn how to stop running away from the past, overcome their incurable heartache, and understand themselves in the process, a transformation that ultimately helps Hidashi find his Japanese family and learn about his own secret identity. Part bildungsroman, part American love story, and part cultural narrative riff about mixed race identity and Japanese pop culture, Ninjas of My Greater Self is a stunning and powerful work of literary fiction that our broken world needs now more than ever.
Praise for NINJAS OF MY GREATER SELF
"NINJAS OF MY GREATER SELF paints with words. Jackson Bliss is the Kendrick Lamar of the literary world."
—Regina King, two-time Emmy winning actress and director
“NINJAS OF MY GREATER SELF is the novel Haruki Murakami might have written if he listened to techno rather than jazz. Strobe-lit, ferociously energetic, and pulsing with ideas, NINJAS is as pop, punk, profane, and postmodern as Jackson Bliss is.”
—Viet Thanh Nguyen, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and author of The Sympathizer
"Jackson Bliss leaves no rule unbroken in NINJAS OF MY GREATER SELF. This beautiful, audacious and brazen novel is a shamelessly incisive dissection of everything one is not supposed to write about and must: race, gender, identity politics, sex, celebrity, pornography, nationalism, class, cultural appropriation, privilege, and even storytelling itself. NINJAS OF MY GREATER SELF is where Kerouac meets Murakami, a book of heart whose protagonist is one of those rare literary characters I wish I knew personally in real life. This novel is an utterly original love story, both a brilliant and remarkable voice of my generation and also a true work of art."
—Bonnie Nadzam, award-winning and critically acclaimed author of Lions and Lamb
“Jackson Bliss is as verbally exuberant as any writer I've come across in years. NINJAS OF MY GREATER SELF is beautifully conceived, powerful, affecting, hip, comedic and as close to being of-the-moment as it is possible for a novel to be.”
—T.C. Boyle, award-winning and critically acclaimed author of The Terranauts
"Beyond having the coolest name ever, Jackson Bliss is a ridiculous talent and NINJAS OF MY GREATER SELF proves it through an alchemy of honesty, lyrical prose, and complex racial understanding that is both charming and deeply revelatory. I’m in awe."
—Jamie Ford, New York Times bestselling author of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet and Songs of Willow Frost
"NINJAS OF MY GREATER SELF is a truly original cross-cultural love story told with humor, vulnerability, and a healthy seasoning of absurdity. Jackson Bliss's hybrid style is an entirely unique creation, and shows him to be a writer of true potential. This is what a debut should be: something you haven't seen before."
—Mat Johnson, critically acclaimed author of Pym, Loving Day, and Incognegro
"With exuberant hyper-realist prose, NINJAS OF MY GREATER SELF takes the reader through a kaleidoscope of cross-cultural experiences both in American and Japan. Suffering adolescent angst in multiracial Chicago, navigating self-conscious college personas at Oberlin, then thrust into a bewildering contemporary Japan featuring a suicide cult, a movie star named Duran Duran and yes, ninjas, the hapa Hidashi searches for a definition of himself for himself. Bliss gives us a uniquely informed portrait of Japan but even more unique is his moving tale of two generations of international interracial love."
—David Mura, award-winning author of Famous Suicides of the Japanese Empire and The Last Incantations
"NINJAS OF MY GREATER SELF opens up a new fast-paced world filled with hapa characters figuring out who they are through love, sex, and Buddhism. Japanese language and script peppers this code-switching novel that reveals the many subcultures of contemporary Japan and America. Exploring the in-between spaces between race, androids, and the human, Jackson Bliss captures a world that only someone both inside and outside can."
—Duncan Ryuken Williams, founder of the Hapa Japan Project and Associate Professor of Religion and East Asian Languages and Cultures