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TarTar
* Dog in the Sand *

1934 Posts

Posted - 02/21/2004 :  00:27:36  Show Profile
I have read two books by Denis Johnson: Already Dead and Jesus' Son. They were actually quite different. Already Dead is this in-depth exploration of a circle of people (loosely connected but they all tie into each other at one point or another) in California. It is extremely deep, not so much in what it reveals as much as how far it goes with exploring the emotions and actions of these characters, so much that I found it exhausting at times. But once I had finished the book, I could go back and read passages and enjoy them simply for the way Johnson uses words and could see how these little moments played a part in the overall mood and tone of the book. Jesus' Son is a lot more basic. The story just basically chorincles a junky who has a series of adventures, some mundane, some exciting, some hilarious. The best story is easily the last where the junky (Fuck Head) develops a voyeuristic relationship with an Amish couple (I think they were Amish, something like that) where he watches their life through one of the windows of their house where they never see him. His great hope is to witness them mid-coitus. A fascinating little window into this guys life, where he's staring into someone elses window.

Edited to correct one word, but I have not changed Amish to Mennonites, because then posts which follow this wouldn't make since and I'm wiling to accept that I make factual mistakes, just not spelling errors and using the wrong words.

"You're muckin' with a G here!"

Edited by - TarTar on 02/22/2004 03:32:38

Newo
~ Abstract Brain ~

Spain
2638 Posts

Posted - 02/21/2004 :  09:11:50  Show Profile  Click to see Newo's MSN Messenger address
I've only read one I found in an American short stories anthology, Emergency, I think, and really enjoyed it.

--
"You one of those right wing nut outfits?" inquired the diplomatic Metzger.
Fallopian twinkled. "They accuse us of being paranoids."
"They?" inquired Metzger, twinkling also.
"Us?" asked Oedipa.
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soundofataris
= Cult of Ray =

USA
715 Posts

Posted - 02/21/2004 :  14:52:51  Show Profile
I've only read Jesus' Son. I picked it up cause of the VU reference. They made a movie out of it a couple of years ago starring Billy Crudup with lots of really good cameos. It was good. Crudup played the part a lot differently then the way I had read it, which was a good thing. I liked the movies take on Fuck Head



I want to be a singer like Lou Reed
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soundofataris
= Cult of Ray =

USA
715 Posts

Posted - 02/21/2004 :  14:53:36  Show Profile
oh, and they were mennonites, not amish

Brendan

I want to be a singer like Lou Reed
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Bartholomew
= Cult of Ray =

USA
344 Posts

Posted - 02/23/2004 :  06:28:40  Show Profile
Denis Johnson is an incredible writer. Having said this, most of his stuff is not for me. Disturbing not in a hollywood way or even a david lynchian way so much as a more truthful look-deep-inside-yourself-and-you'll-find-you-have-some-sick-fucking-tendencies-too. What I mean is he cuts to the core in a very honest, brutal way. I've read his first fiction novel, his last fiction novel, along with Already Dead and Jesus' Son. The first is vicious, the last is depressing, all incredible. Still, the only one I'll ever read again will be Jesus' Son. It carries an edge to it, but it's also philosophical, in a strung out kinda way, not to mention funny as hell. And yes, they are mennonites, which as far as I know, and we have some around these parts, are first cousins to the amish.
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