These stories follow a recovering alcoholic and heroin addict whose dependencies have led him to petty crime, cruelty, betrayal, and various kinds of loss....
This is the story of William "Skip" Sands, CIA, engaged in psychological operations against the Vietcong, and the disasters that befall him....
From Jane Smiley, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel A Thousand Acres: a pair of novellas chronicling difficult choices that reshape the dynamics of two very different families....
Roland Nair calls himself Scandinavian, but travels on a U.S. passport. After 10 years' absence, he returns to Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone, to reunite with his friend Michael Adriko....
Nobody Move, which first appeared in the pages of Playboy, is the story of an assortment of lowlifes in Bakersfield, California, and their cat-and-mouse game over $2.3 million....
On an Illinois farm in the 1920s, a man is murdered, and in the same moment the tenous friendship between two lonely boys comes to an end....
Things have never been easy for Oscar, a sweet but disastrously overweight, lovesick Dominican ghetto nerd....
The Bigtree alligator-wrestling dynasty is in decline, and Swamplandia!, their island home and gator-wrestling theme park, is swiftly being encroached upon....
A profound, startling, and beautifully crafted debut novel, The Sympathizer is the story of a man of two minds, someone whose political beliefs clash with his individual loyalties....
A moving and original father-son story featuring none other than Abraham Lincoln....
An intimate portrait of a family and an epic tale of hope and struggle, Sing, Unburied, Sing journeys through Mississippi's past and present....
A modern classic, Housekeeping is the story of Ruth and her younger sister, Lucille, who grow up haphazardly....
In this classic of literary nonfiction, Annie Dillard takes us through a year of on-foot explorations through her own landscape, bringing anecdotes, curiosities, and insights about all she observes....
Anna Kerrigan, nearly 12 years old, accompanies her father to the house of a man who, she gleans, is crucial to the survival of her father and her family....
Boisterous, ribald, and ultimately shattering, Ken Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest has left an indelible mark on the literature of our time....
The Orphan Master’s Son follows a young man’s journey through the icy waters, dark tunnels, and eerie spy chambers of the world’s most mysterious dictatorship, North Korea....
In a post-apocalyptic America, a father and his young son walk toward the coast. Their relationship comes to represent goodness in a world of utter devastation....
Turtle Alveston is a survivor. At 14, she roams the woods along the Northern California coast. The creeks, tide pools, and rocky islands are her haunts and her hiding grounds....
Denis Johnson’s Train Dreams is an epic in miniature, one of his most evocative and poignant fictions.
Robert Grainer is a day laborer in the American West at the start of the 20th century—an ordinary man in extraordinary times. Buffeted by the loss of his family, Grainer struggles to make sense of this strange new world. As his story unfolds, we witness both his shocking personal defeats and the radical changes that transform America in his lifetime. Suffused with the history and landscapes of the American West—its otherworldly flora and fauna, its rugged loggers and bridge builders—the new novella by the National Book Award-winning author of Tree of Smoke captures the disappearance of a distinctly American way of life.
Lyricism that's reminiscent of James Lee Burke and Faulkner, and is therefore right in narrator Will Patton's wheelhouse. A novella of the opening and closing of the American West that can be enjoyed without "worldly interests intervening...[to] modify, annul or counteract...the impressions of the book," to quote Anthony Doerr (quoting Poe) in the New York Times.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
The novella begins and ends with cries to others, in between Robert Granier is usually alone in the Pacific Northwest.
Why four and not five? A few word choices took me out of Robert Grainer's introspection, during shifts between descriptions of the valley and Granier’s thoughts, and the narrative leaps were jarring at times.
Will Patton does an excellent job. His voice is weary, optimistic, intelligent, detached. But this is a laconic open man, and while the characterizations are distinctive, Patton’s voice is better suited for Saigon (“Tree of Smoke”), New Orleans (James Lee Burke) or Manhattan (“Cosmopolis”).
(Train Dreams was a finalist for the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. For the first time since the 1970s, there was no award for Fiction.)
A complaint: the cover is a desaturated Thomas Hart Benton-like scene, a race between horse and Iron Horse across the dull lumpy prairie. It is misleading. The train dreams are not those of man against machine; this is not John Henry. I interpreted the title as a command: train your dreams.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Hate speech was hard to listen to. Even in a historical context. The story was uneven so I only got into the first hour of it.
For the money - this book is way too short.
It's poetic with lot's of great images being painted with words, but there's not enough dialogue. I feel let down because I've enjoyed some of his other books. Oh well...
Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?
Absolutely without hesitation. This is the first audio book I have ever listened to two times in a row. .Patton is masterful once again. This may be one of his best performances. Johnson is hypnotic in both his language and his story. I have liked every book by Mr. Johnson starting with Tree of Smoke. This one is short but call it a 'small wonder'.
What did you like best about this story?
Before you know it each word, each line has pulled you unsuspectingly into a world you can not predict. You pick up your brain and look around and wonder how you got here....like a dream.
What does Will Patton bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?
He breaths life and atmosphere into a the words and characters like no one else and is simply not possible with the written word.
If you could rename Train Dreams, what would you call it?
Sorry. You do not mess with a masterpiece.
Any additional comments?
Simply a gem. Eagerly awaiting more from Johnson.
Yes, this is a book to read (or listen to). Three times now in the last couple of days to fully catch all the words - it's short. The lyrical quality resonates with images of the early 1900's in the North West. Haunting. You too may dream, hopefully of good things, maybe of the Spokane International, or of other creatures.
Would you consider the audio edition of Train Dreams to be better than the print version?
Can't say, haven't "read" it.
What did you like best about this story?
The writer's ability to use lyrics to tell his story.
Which scene was your favorite?
Ain't going to say specifically. The loss of family and the description of a wildfire and its consequence isn'y exactly bland.
Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?
Not necessarily, but to my own surprise I found myself re-playing it from the beginning in the gym. Like a Dylan song, listening to the lyrics can be habit-forming. It's that good.
Any additional comments?
I was pretty tongue-in-cheek about Will Patton's tar-heel drawl, but I know he reads JL Burke pretty seriously and I give him top marks for interpreting what I think might be the best story written that I can remember.
Is there anything you would change about this book?
No, it's beautifully written. It's one of those books that you know each and every sentence was worked and reward then editied repeatedly. Not a word was not placed in the exact perfect place.
Who was your favorite character and why?
Each character is a deep as a well, no matter how little their part in the book for how it is written. It would be hard to choose just one.
What about Will Patton’s performance did you like?
Excellent - Perfection
Could you see Train Dreams being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?
Yes, this could be a movie - with the use of wolves and their popularity - a progressive movie.
Any additional comments?
My biggest complain was the value of this book. It's quite short - to be honest, if you read to occupy your mind while you are performing a mindless task, such as driving or handwork, though this book is lovely to listen to with an interesting story - it is a short story and, in my opinion, should be much cheaper than it was.
1 of 2 people found this review helpful
Would you listen to Train Dreams again? Why?
The narration by Will Patton is truly excellent, and the writing is mesmerizing. This book is particularly recommended if you have any connection, however remote, to the Pacific Northwest. The story makes one reflect on the harshness of life in remote communities, and the writing was so strong the words quickly flowed by, leaving beautiful, sad images. You can finish the book in a couple of hours, but the images remain long afterwards.
Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?
I didn't laugh or cry, but was struck by the vividness of the writing.
Trains pass through the backgrounds and incidents of the protagonist's life, making the reader increasingly compassionate to him. A good story well told.