Miles Away: Getting to Know Novelist Jonathan Miles

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Novelist Jonathan Miles is so deft a thinker, he has no problem drawing parallels between New Jersey and his onetime home state of Mississippi.

“I know this will sort of raise some eyebrows,” says Miles, who writes in an 8-by-8 shack he built out of shipping pallets on his property in Milford, along the Delaware. “But New Jersey is like Mississippi in the sense that it’s a victim of stereotype. To crib from one of our greatest New Jersey poets”—namely, Walt Whitman—“it contains multitudes.” 

Miles, 47, discovered those multitudes in 2011, when he started hanging out three miles up the