denis johnson (1949 – 2017)

ContentThe writer Denis Johnson died yesterday. This is a little something I wrote about his book The Laughing Monsters three years ago. It was published at Good Letters:

On the back cover of Denis Johnson’s new novel The Laughing Monsters is a rather extraordinary quote by David Means. Means was reviewing Johnson’s short novel, Nobody Move, for the New York Times Sunday Book Review in 2009.

The sentence from the quote that struck me in particular is that Johnson “routinely explores the nature of crime—all his novels have it in one form or another—in relation to the nature of grace (yes, grace) and the wider historical and cosmic order.”

Crime, grace, and the wider historical and cosmic order. A novel by Johnson is, then, according to Means, practically the Bible. Maybe better.

Of course, David Means is pretty sure we will not believe him. That’s why he mentions grace twice.

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