The Name of the World
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One of Johnson's genius strengths is to make very dissimilar themes seem suddenly inseparable. He has a poet's sense of movement, and a child's del ...more
that said, the final flower cannon scene in the book is a total mistake and letdown. in fact, the whole character of flower is a cliche and doesn't fit in here in this spare book that is only vulgar and obvious when she is around. otherwise, it's fresh and exact and wor ...more
pain can be your salvation. suffering is a reminder of all the joys available to experience. that feels like a good lesson for me right now.
one question i have for anyone who has read the book: why is flower's st ...more
The acclaimed author of Jesus' Son and Already Dead returns with a beautiful, haunting, and darkly comic novel. The Name of the World is a mesmerizing portrait of a professor at a Midwestern university who has been patient in his grief after an accident takes the lives of his wife and child and has permitted that grief to enlarge him.
Michael Reed is living a posthumous life. In spite of outward appearances -- he holds a respectable university teaching position; he is an articulate and attractive...more
It's the story of a burned-out, middle-aged professor at an unnamed Midwestern university still dealing with the loss of his wife and child several years earlier in a car accident. It's not an academic satire, though there are some funny/scathing observations. I was afraid it was going to turn into the cliche of nubile young student banishes demons of schlubby older ma ...more
On the one hand, this is Denis Johnson at his best-- he's a Word Master and every word he uses in The Name of the World is exactly the right one. Beautiful and haunting and complicated in its simplicity. And because it's such a brief story, it doesn't suffer from some of the bogged-down-ness of his other novels. I'm very tempted to give it 4 stars. But...
On the other hand, I have no interest in reading this book again. It feels like a one-time experience. To ...more
HarperCollins Publishers Inc., 10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022, 2000
The Name of the World by Denis Johnson is essentially about a washed up college professor, Michael Reed, aimlessly wandering through life four years after the death of his wife and daughter. He has seemed to have lost his lust for life and is just going through the motions. What ensues is a very fluid and unique storyline.
At first it is hard to get used to the writing style of this piece ...more