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Jesus' Son Stories

Denis Johnson

Picador

031242874X

9780312428747

Trade Paperback

144 Pages

$14.00

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Jesus' Son is a visionary chronicle of dreamers, addicts, and lost souls. These stories tell of spiraling grief and transcendence, of rock bottom and redemption, of getting lost and found and lost again. The raw beauty and careening energy of Denis Johnson's prose has earned this book a place among the classics of twentieth-century American literature.

REVIEWS

Praise for Jesus' Son

"Ferocious intensity . . . No American novelist since William Burroughs has so flagrantly risked 'insensitivity' in an effort to depict the pathology of addiction."—The New York Times Book Review

"The narrator of these interlinked stories is a young man, reelig from his addiction to heroin and alcohol, his mind at once clouded and made gorgeously lucid by these drugs. Dreams blur into real life for this man, hallucinations mimic and merge with reality: a state of affairs that gives Mr. Johnson ample opportunity to display his dazzling gift for poetic language, his natural instinct for metaphor and wordplay."—Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

"Denis Johnson's most accessible and accomplished book, from start to finish, without a single sentence that misses the mark."—Los Angeles Times

"Denis Johnson's path as a writer—from poetry to the novel to the short story—is an untypical as his vision, but Jesus' Son may eventually be read not just as a moment in his evolution but as a distinctive turn in the history of the form. He is doing something deeply new in these stories, and the formal novelty brings us into a new intimacy with the violence that is rising around us in this country like the killing waters of a flood."—Atlantic Monthly

"Reading these stories is like reading ticker tape from the subconscious."—The Nation

"[Dennis Johnson is] a synthesizer of profoundly American voices: we can hear Twain in his biting irony, Whitman in his erotic excess, not a little of Dashiell Hammett too in the hard sentences he throws back at his gouged, wounded world. And behind all these you sense something else: a visionary angel, a Kerouac, or, better yet, a Blake, who has seen his demon and yearned for God and forged a language to contain them both."—Newsday

"In a world of predictable fiction, Jesus' Son is a point-blank godsend."—L.A. Weekly

"A work of spare beauty and almost religious intensity."—Entertainment Weekly

"Intense, vicious, and beautiful, these stories are fraught with a cutting wit purposefully juxtaposed against the too-big sentimentality of a drunk. Denis Johnson is an exquisite writer."—Mary Gaitskill

"Set in the Midwest and West, these aggressively grim stories are linked by a common narrator--a young, nameless substance abuser of unspecified background and education. Like the other marginal and directionless individuals who populate these tales, he is locked into a downward spiral of booze, drugs, and petty crime, the squalor of his life emblematic of a more profound spiritual malaise. The best pieces—like 'Beverly Home,' which concerns a recovering addict who spies on a Mennonite couple through their bedroom window, and 'Car Crash While Hitchhiking,' which is exactly what the title implies—balance longing with despair, revealing the yearning for a kind of meaning ultimately lost to these lives. Johnson writes with hallucinatory brilliance, giving these stories a nightmarish edge."—Library Journal

Reviews from Goodreads

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BOOK EXCERPTS

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Jesus' Son
Car Crash While HitchhikingA salesman who shared his liquor and steered while sleeping ... A Cherokee filled with bourbon ... A VW no more than a bubble of hashish fumes, captained by a college student ...And a family from Marshalltown who headonned and killed forever a man driving west out of Bethany, Missouri ...... I rose up sopping wet from sleeping under the pouring rain, and something less than conscious, thanks to the first three of the people I've already named--the salesman and the Indian and the student--all of whom had given me drugs. At the head of the entrance ramp I
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  • Jesus' Son by Denis Johnson--Audiobook Excerpt

    Listen to this audiobook excerpt from Denis Johnson's short story collection Jesus' Son, a visionary chronicle of dreamers, addicts, and lost souls. These stories tell of spiraling grief and trancendence, of rock bottom and redemption, of getting lost and found and lost again. The raw beauty and careening energy of Denis Johnson's prose has earned this book a place among the classics of twentieth-century American literature.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Denis Johnson

  • Denis Johnson is the author of eight works of fiction, three collections of poetry, and one book of reportage. He is the recipient of a Lannan Fellowship and a Whiting Writers' Award, and a National Book Award for Tree of Smoke, among many other honors for his work.
  • Denis Johnson © Cindy Lee Johnson
    Denis Johnson
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