An intense collection of interconnected stories that portray life through the eyes of a young man in a small Iowa town, by the author of Already Dead: A California Gothic, Angels and Resuscitation of a Hanged Man.
Car crash while hitchhiking
Out on bail
The other man
Steady hands at Seattle General
"Johnson's star is on the ascent. Though not vast, his output of novels and poetry has garnered much applause. Now Johnson extends the parameters of his achievement in this collection of short stories. The 11 stories presented here are linked by their common narrator, a down-and-out fellow who is often inebriated, a sometime felon, and a consistent roustabout. Eloquent simplicity--of narrative form and sentence structure--is Johnson's calling card as he places his antihero in contexts perfectly appropriate to his life-style: car wrecks, bar brawls, drug deals, and burglary. "He was in his fifties. He'd wasted his entire life. Such people were very dear to those of us who'd wasted only a few years," says the narrator about a friend; and the theme of wastedness that pervades all these pieces is, in the hands of such a resonant and amusing writer as Johnson, ironically ingratiating. ~--Brad Hooper"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review:
"Taking its title from a line in Lou Reed's notorious song ``Heroin,'' this story collection by with-it novelist Johnson focuses on the familiar themes of addiction and recovery. In his novels ( Angels ; Resuscitation of a Hanged Man ) Johnson has shown his ability to transform the commonplace into the extraordinary, but this volume of 11 stories is no better than, and often seems inferior to, the self-destruction/spiritual rehab books currently crowding bookstore shelves. All of the tales, set in the Midwest and West, are told by a single narrator, and while this should provide unity and depth, instead it makes the stories fragmentary and monotonous. Some disturbing moments do recall Johnson at his inventive best, as when a peeping Tom catches sight of a Mennonite man washing his wife's feet after a marital spat in ``Beverly Home,'' or when the narrator 'fesses up to his fright in a confrontation with the boyfriend--``a mean, skinny, intelligent man who I happened to feel inferior to''--of a woman he's fondling in ``Two Men.'' But for the most part the stories are neurasthenic, as though Johnson hopes the shock value of characters fatally overdosing in the presence of lovers and friends will substitute for creativity and hard work from him. Even the dialogue for the most part lacks Johnson's usual energy. (Dec.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
|| New York :HarperPerennial,1993
||1st HarperPerennial ed.
160 pages ; 18 cm