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Jesus' Son (Fine First Edition)

Denis Johnson

22,795 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0374178925 / ISBN 13: 9780374178925
Published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (New York), 1992
Condition: Fine Hardcover
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Dan Pope Books
West Hartford, CT, U.S.A.

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About this Item

First edition. First printing. Hardbound. A tight clean copy. Fine/fine in all respects. Smoke-Free Shop. Defect-Free. Shipped in sturdy box. SIGNED BY AUTHOR on title page. He has signed his name only, without any other writing. Bookseller Inventory # 1109-656

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Jesus' Son (Fine First Edition)

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (New York)

Publication Date: 1992

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition: Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Fine

Signed: Signed by Author(s)

Edition: 1st Edition

About this title

Synopsis:

Ten stories narrated by a young recovering alcoholic, whose dependency has led him to crime, cruelty, and loss in the Midwest, each depict, with haunting perception, the disparity of emotions that constitute the American experience.

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

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This is a sole proprietorship, Daniel C. Pope, 35 Avondale Road, West Hartford Conn. 06117, USA. Email: dan.pope@comcast.net. Phone: (860) 232-9930.


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