Denis Johnson had a way of crafting stories that lived in readers because they felt so real. I don’t think about Fuckhead that often, but Georgie I think about a lot. My fiancee and my brother are doctors so when I daydream about them I remember Georgie pulling the knife out of the man’s eye and the overworked nurse saying it was just one of the those things. I think of the baby rabbits that get forgotten and crushed on the car seat too.
And damn, Johnson’s sentences were fine. He’s infinitely quotable. “I knew every raindrop by its name.” “Generally the closest I ever came to wondering about the meaning of it all was to consider that I must the victim of a joke.” “We heard music coming from inside—jazz. It sounded sophisticated and lonely.” He had that wonderful way of mixing adjectives. Everything he did embodied his style.
I’ve only read the one book so far, but if Jesus’ Son was all he’d written he’d still be one of the greats.
Rest in piece, Denis Johnson.