Jesus' Son: Stories (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

Denis Johnson is one of my favorite modern authors. He writes in a style reminiscent of William Burroughs and other stream of consciousness style beat authors at times, but is also capable of heart rending tenderness. In this book, which uses lyrics from The Velvet Underground’s song Heroin as its title, we step inside the chaotic mind of the unnamed narrator, a paranoid drug addict living somewhere in the Midwest. It is written in the form of short stories, stark and often terrifying scenes within the young man’s life as he struggles to live. I would highly recommend this lovely hardcover edition.

— ben


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.

About the Author

Denis Johnson (1949–2017) is the author of eight novels, one novella, one book of short stories, three collections of poetry, two collections of plays, and one book of reportage. His novel Tree of Smoke won the 2007 National Book Award.

Praise For…

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

“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

“[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

“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

Product Details
ISBN: 9780312428747
ISBN-10: 031242874X
Publisher: Picador
Publication Date: February 17th, 2009
Pages: 144
Language: English