Sunday, November 1, 2020

Jesus' Son: Stories: a very short review

I have no recollection as to when or how I found out about Denis Johnson, my guess is that I read his obituary a few years back, but somehow I ended up picking up his collection of short stories: Jesus' Son: Stories.

I believe that these are autobiographical, though fictionalized, stories that cover a period in Johnson's life when he was suffering from extreme poverty, clinical depression, substance abuse, homelessness, and more.

The stories are astonishing and vivid, and though they are years old now, they still have the immediacy and power of a bandage ripped from a wound.

Each story is like a nightmare, a nightmare in which you bolt awake, drenched in sweat, pulse pounding, gasping for breath, completely confused and baffled as to where you are and what just happened.

I doubt I'll ever forget these stories, but I'm also not sure if I'll go back to them again.

I'm somewhat afraid to (although I guess that means I need to?)

But I might try something else of his. What should I try? Train Dreams? Tree of Smoke? Nobody Move? Angels?

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