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A contemporary noir, Already Dead is the tangled story of Nelson Fairchild Jr., disenfranchised scion to a northern California land fortune. A relentless failure, Nelson has botched nearly every scheme he's attempted to pull off. Now his future lies in a potentially profitable marijuana patch hidden in the lush old-growth redwoods on the family land. Nelson has some serious problems. His marriage has fallen apart, and he may lose his land, cash and crop in the divorce. What's more, in need of some quick cash, he had foolishly agreed to smuggle $90,000 worth of cocaine through customs for Harry Lally, a major player in a drug syndicate. Chickening out just before bringing the drugs through, he flushed the powder. Now Lally wants him dead, and two goons are hot on his trail. Desperate, terrified and alone, for Nelson, there may be only one way out. This is Denis Johnson's biggest and most complex book to date, and it perfectly showcases his signature themes of fate, redemption and the unraveling of the fabric of today's society. Already Dead, with its masterful narrative of overlapping and entwined stories, will further fuel the acclaim that surrounds one of today's most fascinating writers.
Fat City is a vivid novel of allegiance and defeat, of the potent promise of the good life and the desperation and drink that waylay those whom it eludes. Stockton, California is the setting: the Lido Gym, the Hotel Coma, Main Street lunchrooms and dingy bars, days like long twilights in houses obscured by untrimmed shrubs and black walnut trees. When two men meet in the ring -- the retired boxer Billy Tully and the newcomer Ernie Munger - their brief bout sets into motion their hidden fates, initiating young Ernie into the company of men and luring Tully back into training. In a dispassionate and composed voice, Gardner narrates their swings of fortune, and the plodding optimism of their manager Ruben Luna, as he watches the most promising boys one by one succumb to some undefined weakness; still, "There was always someone who wanted to fight."
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.
The acclaimed author of Jesus' Son and Already Dead returns with a beautiful, haunting, and darkly comic novel. The Name of the World is a mesmerizing portrait of a professor at a Midwestern university who has been patient in his grief after an accident takes the lives of his wife and child and has permitted that grief to enlarge him.Michael Reed is living a posthumous life. In spite of outward appearances -- he holds a respectable university teaching position; he is an articulate and attractive addition to local social life -- he's a dead man walking.Nothing can touch Reed, nothing can move him, although he observes with a mordant clarity the lives whirling vigorously around him. Of his recent bereavement, nearly four years earlier, he observes, "I'm speaking as I'd speak of a change in the earth's climate, or the recent war."Facing the unwelcome end of his temporary stint at the university, Reed finds himself forced "to act like somebody who cares what happens to him. " Tentatively he begins to let himself make contact with a host of characters in this small academic town, souls who seem to have in common a tentativeness of their own. In this atmosphere characterized, as he says, "by cynicism, occasional brilliance, and small, polite terror," he manages, against all his expectations, to find people to light his way through his private labyrinth.Elegant and incisively observed, The Name of the World is Johnson at his best: poignant yet unsentimental, replete with the visionary imaginative detail for which his work is known. Here is a tour de force by one of the most astonishing writers at work today.
Un jugador compulsivo que debe dinero a las personas equivocadas, un matón encargado de cobrar la pasta y darle una lección, una preciosidad en apuros que ahoga sus penas en tequila sunrise, dos millones de dólares y una persecución frenética por las llanuras del valle central de California. Con ecos de Raymond Chandler y Dashiell Hammett, Que nadie se mueva es un homenaje y una variación de un clásico dentro de uno de los géneros literarios más duraderos y populares: la novela negra americana.
Part political disquisition, part travel journal, part self-exploration, Seek is a collection of essays and articles in which Denis Johnson essentially takes on the world.And not an obliging, easygoing world either; but rather one in which horror and beauty exist in such proximity that they might well be interchangeable. Where violence and poverty and moral transgression go unchecked, even unnoticed. A world of such wild, rocketing energy that, grasping it, anything at all is possible.Whether traveling through war-ravaged Liberia, mingling with the crowds at a Christian Biker rally, exploring his own authority issues through the lens of this nation's militia groups, or attempting to unearth his inner resources while mining for gold in the wilds of Alaska, Johnson writes with a mixture of humility and humorous candor that is everywhere present.With the breathtaking and often haunting lyricism for which his work is renowned, Johnson considers in these pieces our need for transcendence. And, as readers of his previous work know, Johnson's path to consecration frequently requires a limning of the darkest abyss. If the path to knowledge lies in experience, Seek is a fascinating record of Johnson's profoundly moving pilgrimage.
"Perfection is not the basis of what I'm talking about," says a member of the Cassandra family, which forms the center of Denis Johnson's plays, Hellhound on My Trail and Shoppers Carried by Escalators Into the Flames.The character could be speaking for his creator, because human imperfection is one of Denis Johnson's specialties -- in his critically acclaimed novels, short stories, and nonfiction, and, now, in two brilliant new plays. These two works present a dramatized field guide to some of the more dysfunctional and dysphoric inhabitants of the American West: a sexual-misconduct investigator who misconducts herself sexually; a renegade Jehovah's Witness who supports his splinter Jehovean group by dealing drugs; the Cassandra Brothers and their father and their grandmother, thrown together at a family reunion/wedding/melee at their shabby homestead in Ukiah, California.When Shoppers Carried by Escalators Into the Flames was performed in San Francisco in 2001, the Chronicle said, There's an enormous appeal in Johnson's bleak-comic vision of a semi-mythic American West. That appeal derives from the author's perfect vision of imperfection, embodied with such energy and courage in these marvelous pieces of theatre.
From the award-winning poet and novelist--a must-have collection of his four previous books of poetry plus a selection of new, unpublished work.
Denis Johnson'sTrain Dreams is an epic in miniature, one of his most evocative and poignant fictions. Robert Grainer is a day laborer in the American West at the start of the twentieth century--an ordinary man in extraordinary times. Buffeted by the loss of his family, Grainer struggles to make sense of this strange new world. As his story unfolds, we witness both his shocking personal defeats and the radical changes that transform America in his lifetime. Suffused with the history and landscapes of the American West--its otherworldly flora and fauna, its rugged loggers and bridge builders--the new novella by the National Book Award-winning author of Tree of Smoke captures the disappearance of a distinctly American way of life.
The story of William 'Skip' Sands, CIA, engaged in Psychological Operations against the Viet Cong, and the disasters that befall him. Also the story of the Houston brothers, Bill and James, young men who drift out of the Arizona desert and into a war where the line between disinformation and delusion has blurred away. In its vision of human folly, this is a story like nothing in our literature.
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