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The Idle Book Club 27: Jesus' Son

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The Idle Book Club 27:

The Idle Book Club 27


Jesus' Son
In the wake of Denis Johnson's passing, Chris and Sarah discuss Jesus' Son, the author's bleak yet beautiful collection of stories centered around the desperation of addiction. We also delve into why short stories are frequently so melancholy, and Chris briefly makes an embarrassingly mistaken reference to the Velvet Underground. Join us!

 

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I have to ask: did anyone immediately catch on that all of the stories have the same narrator? It took me until the second of the Two Men stories (can't recall the name at the moment) to figure it out.

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I read Car Crash While Hitchiking online after Denis Johnson died earlier this summer because I read in an obit for him by an author I liked that praised the story:

 

Quote

I would stand on Anton Chekhov’s table and proclaim that short story is the finest ever written, a perfectly balanced piece of fine sculpture made out of the detritus of a postlapsarian world.

 

When I went to seek out the story online I also found another piece by Jeffery Eugenides that argues it is "the perfect short story."

 

I wasn't sure anything could live up to that praise, but Johnson's story did.  I can easily understand why it's a favorite of so many author's I enjoy.  I look forward to reading this collection since it's been on my list for awhile.  I just have to get through A Sight for Sore Eyes first.

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On 7/17/2017 at 7:09 PM, Mike Danger said:

I have to ask: did anyone immediately catch on that all of the stories have the same narrator? It took me until the second of the Two Men stories (can't recall the name at the moment) to figure it out.

Because I was taking notes for the upcoming book club episode I think I noticed it more quickly than I otherwise would have, because of the presence of consistent characters, locations, and nicknames (like the narrator as "Fuckhead"). By about a third of the way through I figured there was some kind of continuity but it took me a little longer before I was fairly confident it was in fact the same narrator throughout.

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