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Monday, November 8, 2010

Review of : Angels by Denis Johnson

224 pages
published by Harper

I'm going to devote almost this entire review to Johnson's really just beautiful prose. This is Johnson's first novel and while it took a while to get going, the last half of the narrative (where one character is an mental institution, the other on death row awaiting the gas chamber) is probably the best stuff I've read in a long time.

"She snuck over to Sarah's to borrow the gun and there he was, sneaking home, out of Sarah's trailer with the door creaking so loud in the quiet she took it for herself, screeching, Bill, and he saw, and she saw, and Sarah in the doorway with her panties saw, so everyone knew that everyone else knew what was what with who." pg.15

"Freed of negative energies, he moved easily toward solutions." pg.89
"He felt like a grownup in a room full of children playing with toy cars. To get them to see who he was involved tearing them out of a tiny exclusive world of their own creation." pg.162

"He knew a rush in his veins--he felt their need baked into these walls--and he wanted to make himself a sacrifice and his death payment for something more than his stupid mistakes. If Brian could promise him he'd make the crucial difference for somebody, he would walk through the door and be slaughtered here and now." pg.174

"He couldn't believe he'd actually been asleep. All night he had lain with the Unmade, with God, the incredible darkness, the huge blue mouth of love. I'm going to be turned into space. This is the hour of my death." pg.204
reviewed by Schuyler

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