Denis Johnson discussion

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message 1: by Randomhero (last edited Jul 17, 2008 09:42AM) (new)

Randomhero | 5 comments Mod
For those of you who didn't know Johnson is currently writing a novel, entitled Nobody Move, that is to be syndicated in Playboy over the next four months (starting in July). There will be four installments of 10,000 words each, and focuses on a gambling addict who gets into a sticky situation with his debtors. I've read the first installment and seems quite good, different from most of his novels because it is obviously less wordy and lacks a lot of the descriptive power that he usually brings to the table. Definitely pick it up if you're interested. Here are a couple of links, one to the article, and another to a review of the first segment:

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/11/art...

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/jacke...




message 2: by Kurt (new)

Kurt | 2 comments The first installment was terrific. He can tone down his writing to fit the genre. He is trying for noir with "Nobody Move." "Already Dead" is similar but offered a whole lot of weirdness than in "Nobody Move." Johnson seems to be moving away from a more surreal writing style. He seems to be more grounded.


message 3: by Randomhero (last edited Jul 18, 2008 07:23PM) (new)

Randomhero | 5 comments Mod
I'm a ways through Already Dead and I feel like it is a bit different in that he had the liberty of doing much more with his prose. When writing something for a periodical he has limited space and limited time yielding a much different story than his previous work. I'm very interested to see how it turns out. It seems like the perfect mix for Johnson melding the style of fiction with the deadlines of frontier journalism and we can see where Nobody Move gets its roots. I can't wait to see it played out, he really is making us wait with this one, we won't know the end until October!


message 4: by Kurt (new)

Kurt | 2 comments I was surprised at the length of the first installment of "Nobody Move." Playboy editors seem to be giving him plenty of space to tell his story. He must have lots of fans at the magazine. He had a short story in the magazine about a year ago. His writing style lends itself to serialization because his stories are unpredictable.


message 5: by Randomhero (last edited Jul 18, 2008 09:34PM) (new)

Randomhero | 5 comments Mod
You're right though his stories are very unpredictable, and generally have the cliff hanger quality where he mentions something incredibly shocking then shifts perspectives to a different character. This novel is perfect for that technique, rather than shifting perspectives he can shock the reader and let it sink in for an entire month, gestating until the ultimate climax and ending. He's definitely got a friend at Playboy or at least a huge fan, which makes me curious if we will see more of this in the future, moving to more syndicated noir, and even after this how his novels will be effected. However, though Playboy does have a penchant for publishing fiction including Tom Clancy, Kurt Vonnegut, and Margaret Atwood, I just never thought Denis Johnson. It makes sense though and works incredibly well.


message 6: by Mike (new)

Mike A friend of mine who works at FSG says Denis Johnson's next published book will be a collection of three or four novellas. "Train Dreams" will definitely be included, and perhaps "Nobody Move" as well.


message 7: by Randomhero (new)

Randomhero | 5 comments Mod
Really? I like that a lot. I had heard that Nobody Move would be published by winter 2009, but I think that is an awesome idea. I really look forward to that now.


message 8: by Lyn (new)

Lyn (s_warthy) | 1 comments My favorite line from this one: "LA-fuck, I don't care--East LA. Fine, I'll live in a trailer that smells like socks. Just put it in a city."

A couple of reviewers have brought up that Johnson is trying to 'move in a different direction' or that he is 'more grounded'; I agree. To note in this book he talks a lot about people's feet, both en-socked and not.


message 9: by Craig (new)

Craig Beckett (mrbeckett) | 2 comments I loved Nobody Move--especially Will Patton's fine audio version. I think that Nobody Move is evidence that great writers can write genre fiction and it can still be great writing. Nobody Move is a crime / caper novel with Johnson's fantastic sentences and word craft.


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