Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
Angels: A Novel Paperback – April 30, 2002
|New from||Used from|
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
"Johnson succeeds so well as to make one eager for more" -- John Sutherland * London Review of Books * "A beautifully tragic chronicle" * New York Magazine * "Denis Johnson is one of our most inventive, unpredictable novelists" * New York Times Book Review * "Johnson knows his people inside out, their lost, lonely, never-had-a-chance lives. He knows how they talk and think, and he makes us know them too" * Publishers Weekly * "One of the strongest examples of fiction noir since Robert Stone's first work appeared-with an absence of sentimentality and an overall shape that's perfectly judged, this is one of the most impressive first novels of recent seasons - full of a fiery recoiling kick, the dreadful power of inhuman ugliness and misfortune beyond redemption" * Kirkus Reviews * --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From the Back Cover
The most critically acclaimed, and first, of Denis Johnson's novels, Angels puts Jamie Mays -- a runaway wife toting along two kids -- and Bill Houston -- ex-Navy man, ex-husband, ex-con -- on a Greyhound Bus for a dark, wild ride cross country. Driven by restless souls, bad booze, and desperate needs, Jamie and Bill bounce from bus stations to cheap hotels as they ply the strange, fascinating, and dangerous fringe of American life. Their tickets may say Phoenix, but their inescapable destination is a last stop marked by stunning violence and mind-shattering surprise.
Denis Johnson, known for his portraits of America's dispossessed, sets off literary pyrotechnics on this highway odyssey, lighting the trek with wit and a personal metaphysics that defiantly takes on the world.
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
I've read criticisms of "Angels" bemoaning the sketchy take on the central characters, but I disagree that this is a failing. Johnson gives us enough for us to sympathize and, at times, empathize with his motley cast, and certainly enough to share in their everyday epiphanies, when they see the world fresh and new and each moment appears precious and, by the miracle of Johnson's poetic prose, we see out of their eyes.
Likewise criticism falls upon Bill Houston's fate as being somehow unemotional, but this very fact suggests that we are not simply being asked to consider the ethics of capital punishment, but also to dwell on our own, that is to say everyone's, inevitable fate - the blind certainty of our mortality.
The entire work questions the role of personal will versus that of circumstance in deciding the choices we make. I do not think that a pat answer is provided, instead the question is raised and investigated through the thoughts and deeds of Johnson's miscreants.
All of this is dressed in Johnson's universally praised and delicately wrought language. For me, this novel is a celebration of the power of words to first and foremost communicate - if we gain a window into the souls of "Angels"' lost protagonists, then how much easier to see inside our own, and inside those who surround us.
Currently reading "Jesus' Son" and then, after that, it will be "Tree of Smoke".
This is a great and profound work but, as with the author's "Jesus' Son," I felt it was too narrow in its world view, a picture painted on too small a canvas.
It's told MPOV but none of the normal bystanders are ever given a POV. We are only put inside the heads of those in extremis. For example. In the hospital scenes we know how Jamie experiences her doctors but not how they experience Jamie. Bill's mother and Burris's girl friend are superstitious eccentrics. The very brief moments when the child Miranda is given a voice open up the narrative, but perhaps the writer did not want to open it up. As the story goes on the pace quickens and the setting constricts. The world outside the nightmare is not allowed in. Even the descriptions of landscape and weather are negative and constrictive- it's either desperately hot or desperately cold and the landscapes are bleak and urban.