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Seek: Reports from the Edges of America & Beyond Paperback – March 19, 2002

ISBN-13: 978-0060930479 ISBN-10: 0060930470

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial (March 19, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060930470
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060930479
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.4 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #149,806 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

As a fiction writer and poet, Johnson is known for his surreal portraits of the dispossessed lurking at the fringes of American life: the drifters, the jobless, the junkies and midnight DJ's. In this collection of 11 essays, which brings together pieces written over a 20-year period, he prefers to look at how those same individuals band together to form a new, often threatening, identity. His America is peopled with Christian Bikers in Texas, Alaskan frontiersmen, hippies both young and old, and right-wing militia members, all striving to create a life apart from the values associated with the mainstream middle-class. In addition to the essays on America, Johnson expands his canvas to take in the revolutions wrought by the dispossessed of the third world, in such places as Liberia, Afghanistan and Somalia. He finds true believers at every crossroad, whether it's in God, government, guns or all three, and manages to assess the quality of their conviction by travelling among them. Though Johnson is always clearly present as a narrator, he often only refers to himself in the third person or as a separate character altogether. This unusual narrative style infuses many of the essays with an askew, out-of-body point of view, which, while taxing to his credibility as a reporter, adds sincerity to his plight as a human. As a journalist, Johnson searches for something beyond headlines and, at least in this collection, that makes for an intriguing and insightful investigation. (May)Forecast: Essay aficionados may appreciate the offbeat style and subject matter, and Johnson's name recognition should attract loyal readers, but the book could be difficult to categorize and sell to those not already in the know.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"There isn't an American voice I love listening to more than Denis Johnson's." -- Michael Herr --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 33 people found the following review helpful By R. W. Rasband VINE VOICE on August 8, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Denis Johnson is that rare and wonderful thing: a lyrical writer with a brain. This is a collection of non-fiction essays he has published over the last 20 years, and it should win him many new fans who aren't familiar with his acclaimed fiction and poetry. The title, "Seek", is well chosen. Johnson presents himself as a seeker after truth, both physical and metaphysical. He brings with him an open mind, an open heart and genuine humility. "The Civil War in Hell" shows his visit to the heart of darkness of the Liberian civil war, where he views along with other journalists a videotape of the torture of the nations former dictator. The funny "Down Hard Six Times", an account of his honeymoon/gold-prospecting trip to Alaska is both a cautionary tale and a celebration of wilderness. The amazing "Hippies" is an exorciating satire of a drug-addled gathering of aging flower-children over Independence Day. He writes an amazinglyly sympathetic account of a Kenneth Copeland "Bikers for Jesus" rally: Johnson, who defines himself as a Christian, finds genuine religiosity among the weirdness. "Three Deserts" has some of the best writing about the American west I have ever encountered (Johnson lives full-time in northern Idaho.) The high point of the book for me is the stunning "The Militia in Me." Here Johnson gets past the hysteria about "right-wing militias" and, without minimizing their anti-semitism and extremism, sees them as within the well-established tradition of American anti-government, pro-freedom orneriness. In many ways, the West really is a different country and Johnson is well-aware of this, more so than many a provincial Eastern writer. This is a terrific book. Buy it immediately.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By wordtron on May 21, 2001
Format: Hardcover
After the slightness of THE NAME OF THE WORLD, and the somewhat scattered ALREADY DEAD, Johnson returns to the form that made JESUS' SON such a classic in this collection of articles. The standout is hands-down the last piece on his f**cked-up experiences in Liberia. Also good are the glimpses you get into Johnson's personal life, including his marriage and subsequent honeymoon in the wilds of Alaska, where they try to pan for the gold from which they plan to fashion their wedding rings; the highly disorganized hippie festival he goes to; the bikers for Jesus; his short piece on his brief stint as a Boy Scout. If you're already a Johnson fan, SEEK is cause for celebration.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By nadine granoff on April 30, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Who could resist writing that sounds like a combination of Hunter S. Thompson and Julian Barnes? These stories delight but also provoke. ... the writing is always snappy: there are no excess words.
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By R Don Anderson on March 24, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I wish Denis Johnson would write more non fiction. I could not put this book down. Poetic details of grace
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By 8888maj on October 16, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
a book of stories that I could thoroughly enjoy as I had stopped reading short stories
each one is an adventure because the topics are all new
reading Denis Johnson is something that I have done, quit and then w/this series of stories, will definitely start reading him again
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