Jesus’ Son

Author:

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.”

RM52.90

Categories: , ,
Description

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.”

 

Publisher: Granta Publications

Paperback

2012

ISBN: 9781847086709