Resuscitation of a Hanged Man is Denis Johnson's most fully realized novel to date, an enthralling and shattering reading experience, which probes the mysteries of faith, hope and love.
"Johnson has been highly praised for his stylish, inventive writing, both in fiction (Angels, The Stars at Noon) and in verse (The Incognito Lounge); when he's at his best, few can match his clean, graceful prose or stunning images. Indeed, his latest novel is filled with the kind of meticulous writing one expects from him, yet his subject is neither as compelling nor as imaginative as in previous novels. Leonard English, suicidal, despondent, lonely beyond imagining, has arrived in Provincetown with prospects for a new job as a kind of combination disc jockey and private eye. On his first day in town, he wrecks his car; things only get worse. On assignment, spying on a pair of gay lovers, he falls desperately in love with one of them. He experiences a nervous breakdown, tries to assassinate a bishop, is arrested, and finds that he loves being in jail. Amid all these bizarre doings swirl grand themes of hopelessness, faith, and failure of will, and though the writing is first rate, the protagonist is hard to take. Still, Johnson is an accomplished writer and though this novel may fail on some levels, its flaws are as interesting as its successes. ~--Joanne Wilkinson"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review:
"Johnson ( Angels ; Fiskadoro ) is a writer whose grace and style are frequently highlighted by the incongruity of his plot twists and character development. The hero of this novel, Leonard English, has come to Provincetown after an unsuccessful attempt at suicide by hanging. He finds employment as a radio disc jockey and part-time detective, falls in love with a lesbian, and stumbles along in a haze of tobacco and alcohol. Fascinated with his employer, who owns the radio station and runs the detective agency, and by the people who are the objects of his absurd surveillance activities, English gets involved in intrigues he doesn't understand. Driven beyond his professional commitment to search for a missing man, English is clearly propelled by a desperate need to locate himself, which he finally does in a funny but ultimately tragic final episode. Johnson's dark humor and crisp prose collude to keep the reader in a state of anxiety over the hero's psyche as he flounders toward resolution. Ambiguities, and not answers, lie at the heart of this book's questions about faith and hope. While it's easy to be amused by Johnson's deft narrative talents, readers will also be moved by this burdened, melancholy tale. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
|| New York :Farrar, Straus, Giroux,1991
256 pages ; 24 cm