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Jesus' Son. [Paperback]

Denis Johnson , Carola Jeschke
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

31 Jan 2002
A collection of stories narrated by a recovering alcoholic and a heroin addict, offering a portrayal of American loneliness and hope.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


Product details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Reclam Philipp Jun. (31 Jan 2002)
  • Language: German
  • ISBN-10: 315009092X
  • ISBN-13: 978-3150090923
  • Product Dimensions: 14.9 x 9.6 x 1.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 173,370 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding Cult Classic 21 Jan 2011
By Cuban Heel VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
I'm a huge fan of American indie work - be that in music, film or literature. The problem is it's difficult to find, you kind of have to stumble across it. I think I indeed stumbled upon this book via Listmania here on Amazon and thought I'd give it a go because it looked like my kind of thing (and because of the Lou Reed reference in the book's title).

I have to say it was shorter than I was expecting, but was a great read - a bit like Sam Shepard meets Raymond Carver meets 'Drugstore Cowboy'. The stand out story for me has a female doctor stumbling across the scene of an accident and being unable to help because she's so stoned. That's the point really - there is realism in this collection that goes beyond the stereotype of the squat-dwelling, down and out junkie.

My only complaint - I wish it was a bigger book, I wanted more stories...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "I was a whimpering dog inside..." 7 Oct 2009
By Eileen Shaw TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Denis Johnson's collection of short stories, Jesus' Son, is a brilliant introduction to his work. He writes mostly about the young, dispossessed, drug-addled, drink-addicted people of America. His protagonist in all the stories, the Jesus' son of the title, alternates between trying to keep a job, trying not to steal or take too many pills, and trying to do both to maximum effect. He is never quite at ease anywhere, but he does, in the longest story here, Beverley Home, manage to work in a home for amputees or otherwise medically or physically disabled people, of all ages.

"I was a whimpering dog inside, nothing more than that. I looked for work because people seemed to believe I should look for work, and when I found a job I believed I was happy about it because these same people... seemed to think a job was a happy thing."

He writes a weekly newsletter for the inhabitants, but his main job is described as follows:

"...it was part of my job to touch people. The patients had nothing to do but stumble or wheel themselves through the wide halls in a herd. Traffic flowed in one direction only; those were the rules. I walked against the tide, according to my instructions, greeting everybody and grasping their hands or squeezing their shoulders, because they needed to be touched, and they didn't get much of that."

The two excerpts above give some indication, I feel, of the contradictory elements of his work. Johnson's work is funny in a dark, ironic, counter-cultural way. Of course, these people are not your average successful American of the mid-west hinterland and you cannot expect them to think like you. Who is being addressed here? As with all writing about transgression, the shock element will make you feel it isn't you, but it absolutely is.
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