Tyler Collison's Reviews > Resuscitation of a Hanged Man

Resuscitation of a Hanged Man by Denis Johnson
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Jan 04, 12

Read from December 20, 2011 to January 04, 2012

This is the the first novel I've read by Denis Johnson (The Name of the World and Nobody Move were novellas), but the quality of Resuscitation remains consistent (though there, I'd be sort of working in retrospect, as the latter was published long before the others—I digress).

It's clear to me after reading this and Johnson's other work that he is a master of the humorous realism of everyday, original conversation. Often his characters become distracted from the subject of conversation—in this case, because of something strange said or done by midwestern protagonist Leonard English, often out of place in flamboyant Provincetown, Mass. The characters have incredibly genuine, unique conversations, the quality of which are unparalleled to my knowledge.

Beyond my penchant toward Johnson's very real characters, Resuscitation is an emotional, eye-opening, sometimes heart-wrenching tale of a man (English) on a quest of spiritual discovery following a suicide attempt. Johnson does a great job of not making this all a long-winded existential tale by placing it in the background of English's sometimes hapless detective investigation.

Above all else (as I believe characters fuel novels), Johnson creates a character you'll find yourself constantly pulling for. Along with a handful of other characters, Leonard English is one I doubt I'll ever forget.

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