by Denis Johnson
from the October 23, 2017 issue of The New Yorker
This week The New Yorker has presented another must-read. Denis Johnson, who died in May, is one of my favorite writers and was a master of the short story. He started publishing fiction in The New Yorker in 1988, the most recent (and only other one during the lifetime of this site) was “The Largesse of the Sea Maiden,” from March 2014. “Strangler Bob” is one of the five stories that will feature in the forthcoming collection The Largesse of the Sea Maiden: Stories, which was, so Random House says, finished just before Johnson died. The other stories are “The Largesse of the Sea Maiden,” “The Starlight on Idaho,” “Triumph over the Grave,” and “Doppelgänger, Poltergeist.” The collection is going to be released in the U.S. in January and in the U.K. in February. Personally, I cannot wait.
So, let’s go and hopefully enjoy this piece of Denis Johnson’s last work. The first paragraph is promising:
You hop into a car, race off in no particular direction, and, blam, hit a power pole. Then it’s off to jail. I remember a monstrous tangle of arms and legs and fists, with me at the bottom, gouging at eyes and doing my utmost to mangle throats, but I arrived at the facility without a scratch or a bruise. I must have been easy to subdue. The following Monday, I pled guilty to disturbing the peace and malicious mischief, reduced from felony vehicular theft and resisting arrest because—well, because all this occurs on another planet, the planet of Thanksgiving, 1967. I was eighteen and hadn’t been in too much trouble. I was sentenced to forty-one days.
I hope everyone will feel welcome to share thoughts below!