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Denis Johnson’s Train Dreams, a novella shortlisted as a ‘Best Book of 2011’ by almost everyone from the New York Times to Esquire, and also considered for the Pulitzer, is a haunting little book that blossoms from the vine of American history. Spanning from the turn of the 20th century up until the late 60s, Johnson positions the reader to watch as the American west is transfigured by the technological growth of the n ...more
I refuse to stain this small perfect book with a long review.
This short novel is a dream: the kind you dip into, just for a drowsy second, yet wake from to find youself still immersed in a great epic--wounded by its sorrow, giddy with its marvels—all visited upon you in the blink of an eye.
The story of Robert Grainier, a laborer in the Great Northwest during the first third of the last century, is full of tragedy, tall tales, temporal dislocations, homespun humor, plain-speaking, and supernatur ...more
Take Thursday evening, for example. I was on a train finishing a book called A Girl Is a Half-formed Thing. A powerful book, such a powerful book that when I’d finished, I needed a distraction so I took out my iPad to see if I had a book on the ereader app to help me pass the rest of the journey pleasantly. Train Dreams seemed perfect at a little over a hundred pages, ...more
A solid story, sad and satisfying, one which might, initially, provoke feelings of déjà vu in those who’ve read A Prayer for the Dying.
An American mountain man, stoic and self-sufficient, enjoys an all too brief period of love and intimacy before tragedy and loss impose, and he’s left to fend for and only for himself. Johnson’s gentle prose resists a stereotype, rendering the protagonist credible and admirable. The inevitable wolf-girl scene defies belief but situates the story in a mythic trad...more
I first picked up this thin book at at a local bookstore - I was attracted by a single sentence as I briefly flicked through it. I didn't read the blurb or otherwise pre-acquainting myself with the tale to be told. I later bought the Kindle version. A mystery read, and a satisfying one. A strange an ...more
Told in a spare ...more
The story of this man (this Country?) is told in sepia-toned, non-linear vignettes. His Asian adventure (if you want to read somet ...more
The main protagonist is a man of good virtue he is on the straight and narrow, due to many things he has witnessed and taking account of. One ...more
― Denis Johnson, Train Dreams
So, I've just read my second great American novella set in Northern Idaho. 'Train Dreams' isn't A River Runs Through It and Other Stories, ...more
And Jonathan Franzen.
And John Updike.
Okay, a lot of writers. But let's add Denis Johnson to that list, which is a damn shame because it wasn't always this way. Jesus' Son and Angels are both great fucking books, visceral and ghostly at the same time. But then something happened, and I'm not sure what, but Johnson became this sudden chronicle of the American mythology. Okay, fine, ...more
Robert Grainier is a man without a known beginning—at least, he didn’t know hi ...more
Aí nos mostram outro mundo, outra época, outra gente, outras vidas tão distantes da nossa e, simultaneamente, tão perto pelas suas tristezas, pelos seus desejos e, acima de tudo, pelo manter dos sonhos, que alimentam a capacidade de sobrevivência do ser humano.
No fim, libertam-nos deixando-nos o coração em cacos.
Roubo, para aqui, a opinião do Luis Miguel que, tal como eu, teve a sorte de "tropeçar" em Denis Johnson:
Novellas can often be underwhelming, there is so little time to be hooked by the narrative, to fall for the characters.
For a good half of this reading I was thinking small, small, small. Tiny splinters aggravating the surface of the imagination.
I think Grainer's wolf howling was the fulcrum and suddenly I was right there amid the charred wilderness, four walls and no roof.
Later as the years unfold and Grainer's bones fist and knot, none of it feels like dying. Some of what goes on stills read ...more
Train Dreams reflects on the life of Robert Grainier, who works on the railroads, forests, and roads of the Moyea Valley, rougly somewhere in the Idaho ...more
I mean it.
It's a novella, and a short one at that, so it'll only take you an hour or two.
So you really should read it now.
I see some of you still aren't reading it.
You there in the back!
The one smoking a joint.
And the other one with spots.
If you don't start reading it now I'll have all of you shot!
Grainer’s life is not such a simple one. Starting as a self-des ...more
Grainier himself lived more than eighty years, well into the 1960s. In his time he'd traveled west to within a few dozen miles of the Pacific, though he'd never seen the ocean itself, and as far east as the town of Libby, forty miles inside Montana. He'd had one lover -- his wife, Gladys -- owned one acre of property, two horses, and a wagon. He'd never been drunk. He'd never purchased a firearm or spoken into a telephone. He'd ridden on trains regularly, many...more
It's a short and awesome little book. Powerful and gripping. Haunting, the way all his stories manage to be, with perfect use of language and some amazing scenes of dialogue. Seems I've been reading a lot of books lately that really get dialogue down, which is something that's surprisingly rare.
Anyrate, just fantastic stuff. Makes me want to g ...more
|Deep, real reads: Train Dreams||1||4||Jul 28, 2013 12:20AM|
|21st Century Lite...: Train Dreams - Chapter 3 (June 2013)||10||30||Jul 10, 2013 11:26PM|
|21st Century Lite...: Train Dreams - General Comments, Spoilers Allowed (June 2013)||72||74||Jul 04, 2013 03:56AM|
|21st Century Lite...: Train Dreams - Chapter 9 (June 2013)||5||24||Jun 26, 2013 04:52AM|
|21st Century Lite...: Train Dreams - Chapter 1 (June 2013)||28||66||Jun 25, 2013 01:42AM|
|21st Century Lite...: Train Dreams - Chapter 2 (June 2013)||17||29||Jun 21, 2013 12:14AM|
|21st Century Lite...: Train Dreams - The Book as a Whole (June 2013)||1||29||Jun 03, 2013 02:26AM|