To have written something this concise, this muscular, this moving and - yes, why not say it? - this eternal, seems little short of miraculous. But we have come to expect miracles from Johnson. In this age of plodding bandwagons and slavish imitation, Johnson is a one-hundred-per-cent authentic American original and an undisputed master of his craft -- Rupert Thomson A masterpiece... one of the best prose writers in our time -- Michael Ondaatje * Herald * I don't think there is a sentence in the book that isn't perfectly made -- Ann Patchett * New York Times * A work of extraordinary power and consummate skill ... It is a miniature novel, that delineates an epic yet ordinary life in passages of often startling descriptive power. A masterpiece -- Sean O'Hagan * Observer * Johnson might be one of America's greatest fiction writers... The denouement is written with such credibility that it fulfils the book's theme. Softly and beautifully, this novel asks a profound question of human life: is the cost of human society and so-called civilisation perhaps just too high? -- Alan Warner * Guardian * One of America's greatest living fiction writers... Gently undulating and compelling... You can sit down and read it in one sitting - and you should -- Fiona Wilson * The Times * A miraculously deft job... Beautifully done -- James Walton * Daily Telegraph * Train Dreams has the same riveting duality as its extraordinary, ordinary hero... artfully constructed and rich in parabolic [and] paranormal possibilities... Bewitching -- John Dugdale * Literary Review * We hold Denis Johnson to be one of the greatest Americans currently writing... a work of absolute towering genius -- Stuart Hammond * Dazed and Confused * It will haunt me ever after... it resonates long and loud. The fact that this was on the shortlist for the Pulitzer Prize makes the jury's decision to withhold it all the more baffling. It should have won -- Sam Jordison, Books of the Year * Observer * A spare stoic miniature of a particular sort of American life... a portrait of containment, of compression and restraint, from the most essential writer of his generation * LA Times * His writing is extraordinary - complex, beautiful, harrowing, astonishing in its power, and underpinned with a hard-worn humanity in the DNA of every sentence... exceptional on every level: ravaged, redemptive and utterly immersive. It is further evidence, if it were needed, of Johnson's unique and alchemical brilliance -- Stuart Evers The great success of this work lies in its ability to move between vivid, muscular prose and hallucinatory poeticism - in many ways encapsulating all that is great about American literature. Train Dreams retains an authenticity and clarity... Beautifully proportioned * Port * The most powerful thing Johnson has ever written -- Anthony Doerr * New York Times * Picked by the New York Times as a Notable Book for 2011 and described as "a small masterpiece", this novella tells the tragic story of Robert West, a day labourer in the American West at the beginning of the 20th Century. -- Jacques Testard * Times Literary Supplement * The novella is 116 pages, but it is as rich, moving, and ambitious as any novel I read this year - and, because it is so compact, more powerful for it. -- David Bezmozgis * The Millions * It's a love story, a hermit's story... It's also a small masterpiece. You look up from the thing dazed, slightly changed * New York Times * Extraordinary... simple yet lyrical... There is a haunting, elegiac quality to Johnson's writing that perfectly fits with the subject matter, giving Train Dreams the feel of a modern fable -- Doug Johnstone * Big Issue * The natural world of the American West is examined, logged and frequently transfigured -- James Wood * New Yorker * An immaculate distillation of a certain style of American fiction... Johnson delivers in hauntingly economical prose -- Andrezej
DENIS JOHNSON was the author of six novels, three collections of poetry, and one book of reportage. His novel Tree of Smoke was the 2007 winner of the National Book Award. He died in 2017.