12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
An excellent spiritual noir,
By A Customer
This review is from: Already Dead: A California Gothic (Hardcover)
I had no intention of writing anything about this book - having just finished it I wondered what others thought of it. The two short bewilderingly negative reviews of this book surprised me, but notice that they had little to back up their view. Even the person who loaned me this book did not think it was great, and while it was certainly not as impressive as Jesus' Son (which stunned me in its brevity and impact), it held my attention throughout, even, as another reviewer wrote, you knew - to some degree - what would happen. Hell, just read the title and you know what'll happen. Perhaps the fact this book requires a bit of effort from the reader is what put off the reviewers that gave it such a low rating. But what good book doesn't? Yes, the chgaracters are in various states of mental crisis, alcohol and drug effects and after-effects, and real and imagined paranoia; so when do those ingredients make for bad noir? Johnson allowed me to feel different ways about the characters throughout the book depending on who described them, including one who appears for only a few pages (and a bit later as first a lifeless corpse and then a slightly less lifeless one) and another who never appears at all, which makes me wonder if ALL of the characters' take on that guy is completely off-base. There's dialogue worthy of the better bits of McGuane, long rambling letters that read with great panic fever, and hilarious bits about Nietzsche, who should always be good for a laugh, but is seldom used to excellent effect. More spiritual than Angels, and longer than Jesus' Son, if you love the way Johnson writes than the more the better.