The Laughing Monsters

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Product Details

Price
$25.00
Publisher
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publish Date
Pages
240
Dimensions
5.29 X 0.86 X 8.97 inches | 0.82 pounds
Language
English
Type
Hardcover
EAN/UPC
9780374280598
BISAC Categories:

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About the Author

Denis Johnson (1949-2017) is the author of eight novels, one novella, one book of short stories, three collections of poetry, two collections of plays, and one book of reportage. His novel Tree of Smoke won the 2007 National Book Award.

Reviews

Johnson's tenth novel is a stunner: the story of Roland Nair, a rogue intelligence agent looking to make a big score in Sierra Leone amid the detritus and chaos of the post-war-on-terrorism world. Johnson's sentences are always brilliant, but it is in the interstices, the gray areas of the story, that he really excels. David Ulin, Los Angeles Times

A thriller of spies and black marketeers that's hard to put down for all the right reasons. Boris Kachka, New York Magazine

Easy to love line by line--Denis Johnson's prose, as always, is incandescent . . . [a] hermetic, exhilirating, visionary nightmare of a book. Justin Taylor, Bookforum

The single catastrophe is what fuels that demands and mysteries of literature. The wreckage is what essential writers particularize, and Denis Johnson's interests have always beenin wreckage, both individual and universal. If Train Dreams (a Pulitizer finalist) dealt with the dignified tragedy of a past American antonym, The Laughing Monsters addresses the vanishing present, a giddy trickle-down of global exploitation and hubris--the farcical exploits of cold dudes in a hard land. Joy Williams, The New York Times Book Review

It would be hard to find a better American writer, at the level of the sentence, than Johnson. Gina Frangello, Boston Globe

America's most incandescent novelist. John Lingan, Slate

National Book Award winner Denis Johnson has brilliantly plumbed the mystical and the macabre in such works as Tree of Smoke and his instant classic Jesus' Son. The Laughing Monsters delivers a more commercial, post-9/11 tale of intrigue, deception, romance, and misadventure set in West Africa without losing Johnson's essentially poetic drive . . . With each twist, Johnson deftly ups the stakes while adding to the cavalcade of entrepreneurs, assassins, seers, and smugglers that populate the book, tuning us in to the roiling political realities and cultural complexities of Africa today . . . This visionary novel is always falling together, never apart. That's Johnson. Lisa Shea, Elle

An adventure without any expected twists. Mr. Johnson is adept at keeping the pace of the story up without sacrificing either suspense or satisfaction . . . The mystery is worth trying to solve. Mona Moraru, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

And for his next trick, Johnson delivers a taut, Conrad-by-way-of-Chandler tale about a spy who gets too close to the man he's shadowing in Africa . . . As in any good double-agent story, Johnson obscures whose side Roland is really on, and Roland himself hardly knows the answer either: Befogged by frustrations and bureaucracy, his lust for Davidia and simple greed, he slips deeper into violence and disconnection. Johnson expertly maintains the heart-of-darkness mood . . . his antihero's story is an intriguing metaphor for [post-9/11 lawlessness]. Kirkus

Good morning and please listen to me: Denis Johnson is a true American artist, and Tree of Smoke is a tremendous book . . . It ought to secure Johnson's status as a revelator for this still new century. Jim Lewis, The New York Times on Tree of Smoke

[A] severely lovely tale . . . The visionary, miraculous element in Johnson's deceptively tough realism makes beautiful appearances in this book. The hard, declarative sentences keep their powder dry for pages at a time, and then suddenly flare into lyricism; the natural world of the American West is examined, logged, and frequently transfigured. I started reading Train Dreams with hoarded suspicion, and gradually gave it all away, in admiration of the story's unaffected tact and honesty . . . Any writer can use simple prose to describe the raising of a cabin or the cutting down of tress, but only very good writers can use that prose to build a sense of an entire community, and to convey, without condescension, that this community shares some of the simplicity of the prose. Chekhov could do this, Naipaul does it in his early work about Trinidad, and Johnson does it here, often using an unobtrusive, free indirect style to inhabit the limited horizons of his characters . . . A way of being, a whole community, has now disappeared from view, and is given brief and eloquent expression here. James Wood, The New Yorker on Train Dreams

"

"Johnson's tenth novel is a stunner: the story of Roland Nair, a rogue intelligence agent looking to make a big score in Sierra Leone amid the detritus and chaos of the post-war-on-terrorism world. Johnson's sentences are always brilliant, but it is in the interstices, the gray areas of the story, that he really excels." --David Ulin, Los Angeles Times

"A thriller of spies and black marketeers that's hard to put down for all the right reasons." --Boris Kachka, New York Magazine

"Easy to love line by line--Denis Johnson's prose, as always, is incandescent . . . [a] hermetic, exhilirating, visionary nightmare of a book." --Justin Taylor, Bookforum

"The single catastrophe is what fuels that demands and mysteries of literature. The wreckage is what essential writers particularize, and Denis Johnson's interests have always beenin wreckage, both individual and universal. If Train Dreams (a Pulitizer finalist) dealt with the dignified tragedy of a past American antonym, The Laughing Monsters addresses the vanishing present, a giddy trickle-down of global exploitation and hubris--the farcical exploits of cold dudes in a hard land." --Joy Williams, The New York Times Book Review

"It would be hard to find a better American writer, at the level of the sentence, than Johnson." --Gina Frangello, Boston Globe

"America's most incandescent novelist." --John Lingan, Slate

"National Book Award winner Denis Johnson has brilliantly plumbed the mystical and the macabre in such works as Tree of Smoke and his instant classic Jesus' Son. The Laughing Monsters delivers a more commercial, post-9/11 tale of intrigue, deception, romance, and misadventure set in West Africa without losing Johnson's essentially poetic drive . . . With each twist, Johnson deftly ups the stakes while adding to the cavalcade of entrepreneurs, assassins, seers, and smugglers that populate the book, tuning us in to the roiling political realities and cultural complexities of Africa today . . . " --Lisa Shea, Elle

"An adventure without any expected twists. Mr. Johnson is adept at keeping the pace of the story up without sacrificing either suspense or satisfaction . . . The mystery is worth trying to solve." --Mona Moraru, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

"And for his next trick, Johnson delivers a taut, Conrad-by-way-of-Chandler tale about a spy who gets too close to the man he's shadowing in Africa . . . As in any good double-agent story, Johnson obscures whose side Roland is really on, and Roland himself hardly knows the answer either: Befogged by frustrations and bureaucracy, his lust for Davidia and simple greed, he slips deeper into violence and disconnection. Johnson expertly maintains the heart-of-darkness mood . . . his antihero's story is an intriguing metaphor for [post-9/11 lawlessness]." --Kirkus

"Good morning and please listen to me: Denis Johnson is a true American artist, and Tree of Smoke is a tremendous book . . . It ought to secure Johnson's status as a revelator for this still new century." --Jim Lewis, The New York Times on Tree of Smoke

"[A] severely lovely tale . . . The visionary, miraculous element in Johnson's deceptively tough realism makes beautiful appearances in this book. The hard, declarative sentences keep their powder dry for pages at a time, and then suddenly flare into lyricism; the natural world of the American West is examined, logged, and frequently transfigured. I started reading Train Dreams with hoarded suspicion, and gradually gave it all away, in admiration of the story's unaffected tact and honesty . . ." --James Wood, The New Yorker on Train Dreams