Elizabeth's Reviews > Train Dreams

Train Dreams by Denis Johnson
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's review
Jan 23, 2012

liked it
bookshelves: 2012
Recommended for: fans of Shakira's She Wolf

I am not a fan of the novella format but I am a fan of Denis Johnson as I truly enjoyed both Jesus' Son and Tree of Smoke. This is a pleasant enough book following Granier in the American West at the start of the 20th century. Life is always hard out West during that time and we get slices of laying train tracks, the death of loved ones and the loneliness that can only come from wide open spaces and the lack of people in the world at that time. Since it's the turn of the century we also see change and the ride of a lifetime in a plane. For his hard life, he fortunately has a few soft moments. There are dreams and an overall canine touch to the book.

I found myself not really caring, though I desperately wanted to, as I was not able to find an emotional connection with the story. Granier and his experiences are interesting enough and feel real to that time period, historical homework had been done. The slice of life aspect is fine and dandy but I found more often than not the incidents that are encountered felt like they might go somewhere and if they did, I never figured out where. So it ended up having this disjointed aspect that made me go, meh.

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