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Train Dreams by Denis Johnson 9781783787623

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'A masterpiece... One of the best prose writers in our time' Michael Ondaatje An epic miniature of one man's life journey through the American West at the turn of the twentieth century. Robert Grainier is a day labourer in the American West, felling the trees that feed the railways. It is the start of the twentieth century, and the world is changing at a rapid pace. Life is fragile in the wilds of the frontier; disease and forest fires are rife. Buffeted by the loss of his family, Grainier journeys, struggling to make sense of the bewildering changes transforming the nation. Rich and muscular, sweeping and incantatory, Train Dreams is an epic in miniature: an elegy to the ravaged beauty of a lost landscape, and a haunting indictment of the cost of our modern way of life. 'A work of extraordinary power and consummate skill... A masterpiece' Observer 'I don't think there is a sentence in the book that isn't perfectly made' Ann Patchett, New York Times

An epic miniature of one man's life journey through the American West at the turn of the twentieth century.

About the Author
DENIS JOHNSON was the author of six novels, three collections of poetry, and one book of reportage. His novel Tree of Smoke was the 2007 winner of the National Book Award. He died in 2017.

To have written something this concise, this muscular, this moving and - yes, why not say it? - this eternal, seems little short of miraculous. But we have come to expect miracles from Johnson. In this age of plodding bandwagons and slavish imitation, Johnson is a one-hundred-per-cent authentic American original and an undisputed master of his craft -- Rupert Thomson
A masterpiece... one of the best prose writers in our time -- Michael Ondaatje * Herald *
I don't think there is a sentence in the book that isn't perfectly made -- Ann Patchett * New York Times *
A work of extraordinary power and consummate skill ... It is a miniature novel, that delineates an epic yet ordinary life in passages of often startling descriptive power. A masterpiece -- Sean O'Hagan * Observer *
Johnson might be one of America's greatest fiction writers... The denouement is written with such credibility that it fulfils the book's theme. Softly and beautifully, this novel asks a profound question of human life: is the cost of human society and so-called civilisation perhaps just too high? -- Alan Warner * Guardian *
One of America's greatest living fiction writers... Gently undulating and compelling... You can sit down and read it in one sitting - and you should -- Fiona Wilson * The Times *
A miraculously deft job... Beautifully done -- James Walton * Daily Telegraph *
Train Dreams has the same riveting duality as its extraordinary, ordinary hero... artfully constructed and rich in parabolic [and] paranormal possibilities... Bewitching -- John Dugdale * Literary Review *
We hold Denis Johnson to be one of the greatest Americans currently writing... a work of absolute towering genius -- Stuart Hammond * Dazed and Confused *
It will haunt me ever after... it resonates long and loud. The fact that this was on the shortlist for the Pulitzer Prize makes the jury's decision to withhold it all the more baffling. It should have won -- Sam Jordison, Books of the Year * Observer *
A spare stoic miniature of a particular sort of American life... a portrait of containment, of compression and restraint, from the most essential writer of his generation * LA Times *
His writing is extraordinary - complex, beautiful, harrowing, astonishing in its power, and underpinned with a hard-worn humanity in the DNA of every sentence... exceptional on every level: ravaged, redemptive and utterly immersive. It is further evidence, if it were needed, of Johnson's unique and alchemical brilliance -- Stuart Evers
The great success of this work lies in its ability to move between vivid, muscular prose and hallucinatory poeticism - in many ways encapsulating all that is great about American literature. Train Dreams retains an authenticity and clarity... Beautifully proportioned * Port *
The most powerful thing Johnson has ever written -- Anthony Doerr * New York Times *
Picked by the New York Times as a Notable Book for 2011 and described as "a small masterpiece", this novella tells the tragic story of Robert West, a day labourer in the American West at the beginning of the 20th Century. -- Jacques Testard * Times Literary Supplement *
The novella is 116 pages, but it is as rich, moving, and ambitious as any novel I read this year - and, because it is so compact, more powerful for it. -- David Bezmozgis * The Millions *
It's a love story, a hermit's story... It's also a small masterpiece. You look up from the thing dazed, slightly changed * New York Times *
Extraordinary... simple yet lyrical... There is a haunting, elegiac quality to Johnson's writing that perfectly fits with the subject matter, giving Train Dreams the feel of a modern fable -- Doug Johnstone * Big Issue *
The natural world of the American West is examined, logged and frequently transfigured -- James Wood * New Yorker *
An immaculate distillation of a certain style of American fiction... Johnson delivers in hauntingly economical prose -- Andrezej Lukowski * Metro *
This is a short, excellent book, with a poetic quality that makes it oddly gripping -- David Agnew * Skinny *
Astonishingly gripping... Awe-inspiring and heartbreaking, exciting and humbling, this is a recommended read * Edinburgh Evening News *
What sets Train Dreams apart is a lucid wisdom, a sense of perspective, a warm sustaining familiarity in the same ballpark as Richard Ford's Canada... sharp and clean, brilliant and surprising * Bookmunch *
Stark and terse... all told with Johnson's maverick approach to grammar and structure -- Simon Armitage, Books of the Year * Guardian *
Johnson's writing is a joy -- David Evans * Financial Times *
The best [novel] I read this year... It's compulsive and, finally, unspeakably eerie -- Nick Laird, Books of the Year * Guardian *
This Pulitzer prize-winning author taps into a strain of Americana we find both familiar and appealing on this side of the pond * Belfast Telegraph *
It has the feel of a modern fable, and is unbelievably moving... Extraordinary -- Doug Johnstone, Books of the Year * Scotsman *
You will have to keep stopping to recover from the assault of beauty, from the spare, clean prose that punches so far above its apparent weight, and from the tender perceptive description of a sad little life, which is not little at all. I do not understand why it is not everyone's favourite book of 2012... Extraordinary -- Sara Maitland, Books of the Year * Scotsman *
A concise yet epic slice of Americana of the unsweetened, affecting variety... Short it may be, forgettable it is not * Absolutely Chelsea *
Its economy of language and force of emotion give Johnson's work a quick shot of intensity... Superb -- Lesley McDowell * Independent on Sunday *
Superb * Independent *
Epic... Full of tenderness and wonder * Church Times *
It's beautifully written - a miniature masterpiece -- Ben Watt * Observer *
The best book I read this year -- Kate Pullinger * 'Books of the Year' Observer *
A beautifully balanced and lyrical novella in which an ordinary labourer [...] lives through some extraordinary times... An outstanding work -- Paul Geatrix * Times Higher Education *
Amazing -- Anthony Doerr, summer books round up * Observer *
Set in the American West at the start of the 20th century, this is the tale of a construction worker who, after losing his wife and daughter to a wildfire, lives as a recluse in the woods... It's a feat -- 100 Modern Novels to Love * Sunday Times *

Short-listed for Pulitzer Prize 2012 (UK).

Book Information
ISBN 9781783787623
Author Denis Johnson
Format Paperback
Page Count 128
Imprint Granta Books
Publisher Granta Books
Weight(grams) 98g
Dimensions(mm) 198mm * 128mm * 10mm


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