The Largesse of the Sea Maiden : Stories
by Denis Johnson


Overview - NATIONAL BESTSELLER - Twenty-five years after Jesus' Son, a haunting new collection of short stories on mortality and transcendence, from National Book Award winner and two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist Denis Johnson

"Ranks with the best fiction published by any American writer during this short century."-- New York

"A posthumous masterpiece."-- Entertainment Weekly

The Largesse of the Sea Maiden is the long-awaited new story collection from Denis Johnson.  Read more...


 
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More About The Largesse of the Sea Maiden by Denis Johnson
 
 
 
Overview
NATIONAL BESTSELLER - Twenty-five years after Jesus' Son, a haunting new collection of short stories on mortality and transcendence, from National Book Award winner and two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist Denis Johnson

"Ranks with the best fiction published by any American writer during this short century."--New York

"A posthumous masterpiece."--Entertainment Weekly

The Largesse of the Sea Maiden is the long-awaited new story collection from Denis Johnson. Written in the luminous prose that made him one of the most beloved and important writers of his generation, this collection finds Johnson in new territory, contemplating the ghosts of the past and the elusive and unexpected ways the mysteries of the universe assert themselves.

Finished shortly before Johnson's death, this collection is the last word from a writer whose work will live on for many years to come.

Praise for The Largesse of the Sea Maiden

"An instant classic."--Newsday

"Exceptional luminosity . . . hits a powerful vein."--The New York Times Book Review

"Grace and oblivion are inextricably yoked in these transcendent stories. . . . Johnson's] gift is to extract the beauty in all that brokenness."--The Wall Street Journal

"Nobody ever wrote like Denis Johnson. Nobody ever came close. . . . We're just left with this miraculous book, these perfect stories, the last words from one of the world's greatest writers."--NPR

"Johnson offers visions and sadness and laughter. But it's the sentences--those adamantine, poetic sentences--that made him one of America's great and lasting writers. It's the sentences that live on."--The Boston Globe

"Johnson's fiction . . . overflows with creative energy, moving from one beauty to another with a mercurial, at times almost chaotic grace. Although his characters are often diminished and winnowed by their struggles with life, the narrative voice that describes their travails gives evidence of an imagination that is nearly boundless in its generosity and abundance."--Chicago Tribune

"Sly, open-ended, and meticulously wise . . . Johnson] is a writer whose ambitions were in their own way as broad and burgeoning as Dostoyevsky's. He is for all time."--Rachel Kushner, Bookforum

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780812988635
  • ISBN-10: 0812988639
  • Publisher: Random House
  • Publish Date: January 2018
  • Page Count: 224
  • Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.7 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.8 pounds


Related Categories

Books > Fiction > Short Stories (single author)
Books > Fiction > Literary
Books > Fiction > Visionary & Metaphysical

 
BookPage Reviews

Denis Johnson’s final collection

Ernest Hemingway once ventured that all American literature derives from Huckleberry Finn. By this he meant American literature elevates vernacular speech, befitting literature in a democracy. Denis Johnson’s posthumous anthology, The Largesse of the Sea Maiden, is superlative proof of that.

Johnson is best known for his Vietnam War novel Tree of Smoke and short story collection Jesus’ Son. A pupil of Raymond Carver, he has garnered a reputation for the sordid and the hard-boiled. But only one story in his new collection, “The Starlight on Idaho,” might be called Carver-esque. It concerns a man in rehab and in fact is less Carver than Bukowski. It’s a no-hoper’s cri de coeur, avoiding the prevalent clichés of the rehab genre.

Johnson’s stories are that of a depleted and decadent civilization. He observes trains everywhere going off the rails. The joke of the title story, which is composed of many interlinked tales, is that modern life is distinctly lacking in largesse and sea maidens. The story “Doppelgänger, Poltergeist” is dedicated to Elvis, as the King is as close to mythology as such a society can come. Swirling speculations about Elvis’ supposed twin lost in childbirth reach a crescendo, which occurs just as the World Trade Center towers are struck and collapse.

Once a recovering addict, the late Johnson seems fixated on death and recovery. His stylistic range is certainly wondrous, straddling the starkness of “Starlight” and the hysterical realism of “Doppelgänger, Poltergeist.” Critics like B.R. Myers have found Johnson’s prose affected and artless, and one does wonder sometimes what purpose fiction serves if it doesn’t inspire. After all, even folksy Huckleberry Finn did that. But Johnson’s stories are pertinent and engaging. They hold up a mirror to society’s dregs and to that extent are flawless.

 

This article was originally published in the January 2018 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

 
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