Denis Johnson Jesus' Son

ISBN 13: 9780413772428

Jesus' Son

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9780413772428: Jesus' Son
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A collection of linked stories narrated by a recovering alcoholic and heroin addict, Jesus' Son is a disturbing portrayal of loneliness and hope. He travels through an American underworld of burnt-out sports stars, hospital waiting rooms, doomed relationships and senseless violence.

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Review:

The unnamed narrator in Jesus' Son lives through a car wreck and a heroin overdose. Is he blessed? He cheats, lies, steals--but possesses a child's (or a mystic's) uncanny way of expressing the bare essence of things around him. In its own strange and luminous way, this linked collection of short fiction does the same. The stories follow characters who are seemingly marginalized beyond hope, drifting through a narcotic haze of ennui, failed relationships, and petty crime. In "Dundun" the narrator decides to take a shooting victim to the hospital, though not for the usual reasons: "I wanted to be the one who saw it through and got McInnes to the doctor without a wreck. People would talk about it, and I hoped I would be liked." Later he takes his own pathetic stab at violence in "The Other Man," attempting to avenge a drug rip-off but succeeding only at terrorizing an innocent family. Each meandering story--some utterly lacking in the usual elements of plot, including a beginning and an end--nonetheless demands compulsive reading, with Denis Johnson's first calling as a poet apparent in the off-kilter beauty of his prose. Open to any page and gems spill forth: "I knew every raindrop by its name. I sensed everything before it happened. I knew a certain Oldsmobile would stop for me even before it slowed, and by the sweet voices of the family inside that we'd have an accident in the storm."

The most successful stories in the collection offer moments of startling clarity. In "Car Crash While Hitchhiking," for instance, the narrator feels most alive while in the presence of another's loss: "Down the hall came the wife. She was glorious, burning. She didn't know yet that her husband was dead.... What a pair of lungs! She shrieked as I imagined an eagle would shriek. It felt wonderful to be alive to hear it! I've gone looking for that feeling everywhere." In "Work," while "salvaging" copper wire from a flooded house to fund their habits, the narrator and an acquaintance stop to watch the nearly unfathomable sight of a beautiful, naked woman paragliding up the river. Later the narrator learns that the house once belonged to his down-and-out accomplice and that the woman is his estranged wife. "As nearly as I could tell, I'd wandered into some sort of dream that Wayne was having about his wife, and his house," he reasons. Such is the experience for the reader. More Genet than Bukowski, Denis Johnson lures us into a misfit soul's dream from which he can't awake. --Langdon Cook

About the Author:

Denis Johnson (1949-2017) is the author of eight novels, one novella, one book of short stories, three collections of poetry, two collections of plays, and one book of reportage. His novel Tree of Smoke won the 2007 National Book Award.

Will Patton is an Earphones Award-winner and Audie finalist who has narrated works by Charles Frazier, Larry McMurtry, Don DeLillo, and Ernest Hemingway. He was named Best Voice in Mystery & Suspense by AudioFile magazine in both 2008 and 2009. Patton's narration of Stephen King's Doctor Sleep earned an Audie for fiction in 2014.

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780312428747: Jesus' Son: Stories

Featured Edition

ISBN 10:  031242874X ISBN 13:  9780312428747
Publisher: Picador, 2009
Softcover

9781250074805: Jesus' Son: Stories (Picador Modern Classics)

Picado..., 2015
Hardcover

9781847086709: Jesus' Son

Granta, 2001
Softcover

9780374178932: Jesus' Son: Stories

Farrar..., 2018
Hardcover

9780060975777: Jesus' Son: Stories

Harper..., 1993
Softcover

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Denis Johnson
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Book Description 2004. Paperback. Condition: New. Paperback. PREVIOUSLY ANNOUNCED IN MARCH 2003 BUYERS' GUIDE. A collection of linked stories narrated by a recovering alcoholic and heroin addict, Jesus' Son is a disturbing portrayal of loneliness an.Shipping may be from multiple locations in the US or from the UK, depending on stock availability. 192 pages. 0.128. Seller Inventory # 9780413772428

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