Saturday, May 26, 2012

Jesus' Son by Denis Johnson

I first read Jesus' Son in college, during my first class with Jose Skinner (Flight and Other Stories). And of all the books I read in that class, and all of my college career, the words of Denis Johnson stuck with me the longest. Why? Because his ability to mix poetry with prose. Never before had I read a story where a character "knew every raindrop by its name," or whose heart broke for the person he would never find, the person who loved him.

The collection of stories follows a character whose name is never mentioned, though the moniker fuckhead follows him like a proverbial rain cloud. A junky, Fuckhead, walks through life having several misadventures, none without reason. He is lucky, but he's a failure. He tries, but rarely succeeds at anything. His friends are there one moment, and buried the next. 

There is no chronological order to the stories found within the covers of this book, but, nevertheless, the reader leaves with something he didn't have before - an experience only someone strung out on heroin could have felt. Because that's what Denis Johnson presents to us with his collection - literary heroin. And we'll keep going back for more.

Jesus' Son is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble, for Kindle and Nook respectively. Until next time, happy huntin'.

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