The Largesse of the Sea Maiden
Twenty-five years after Jesus' Son, a haunting new collection of short stories on mortality and transcendence, from National Book Award winner and two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist Denis Johnson
"Ranks with the best fiction published by any American writer during this short century." --New York
"A posthumous masterpiece."--Entertainment Weekly
The Largesse of the Sea Maiden is the long-awaited new story collection from Denis Johnson. Written in the luminous prose that made him one of the most beloved and important writers of his generation, this collection finds Johnson in new territory, contemplating the ghosts of the past and the elusive and unexpected ways the mysteries of the universe assert themselves.
Finished shortly before Johnson's death, this collection is the last word from a writer whose work will live on for many years to come.
Praise for The Largesse of the Sea Maiden
"An instant classic."--Newsday
"Exceptional luminosity . . . hits a powerful vein."--The New York Times Book Review
"Grace and oblivion are inextricably yoked in these transcendent stories. . . . [Johnson's] gift is to extract the beauty in all that brokenness."--The Wall Street Journal
"Nobody ever wrote like Denis Johnson. Nobody ever came close. . . . We're just left with this miraculous book, these perfect stories, the last words from one of the world's greatest writers."--NPR
"Johnson offers visions and sadness and laughter. But it's the sentences--those adamantine, poetic sentences--that made him one of America's great and lasting writers. It's the sentences that live on."--The Boston Globe
"Johnson's fiction . . . overflows with creative energy, moving from one beauty to another with a mercurial, at times almost chaotic grace. Although his characters are often diminished and winnowed by their struggles with life, the narrative voice that describes their travails gives evidence of an imagination that is nearly boundless in its generosity and abundance."--Chicago Tribune
"Sly, open-ended, and meticulously wise . . . [Johnson] is a writer whose ambitions were in their own way as broad and burgeoning as Dostoyevsky's. He is for all time."--Rachel Kushner, Bookforum
"All the slipshod magnificence and crazy wonder of the late, venerated American writer are present in this posthumous collection of short stories." * Observer * "In his lifetime Denis Johnson was far more highly regarded in America than in Britain ... This stunning book - bleak, funny tender, despairing and ecstatic (sometimes all at the same time) - decisively proves that the Americans were right." -- James Walton * Daily Telegraph * "[W]ith his untimely death, Johnson's canonisation as an American seer seems inevitable . . . The five longish pieces comprising this posthumous collection are all, to my mind, quite wonderful." -- James Lasdun * Guardian * "The prose remains as deliriously alive as ever. In one story there is a rueful, lyrical, lovely paragraph that I hope is more than fictionally true because it suggests that Johnson enjoyed himself producing some of the greatest literary works of our age." -- Adam Foulds * Financial Times * "Ranging from hard-edged to thoughtful, the engaging tales in this posthumous collection offer one voice crying out from rehab and another parsing the bonds of prison life." -- Jeffrey Burke * Mail on Sunday * "He worked at a level different from the rest of us - a true master." -- Zadie Smith "The God I want to believe in has a voice and sense of humor like Denis Johnson's." -- Jonathan Franzen "Our most poetic short story writer since Hemingway." -- George Saunders "The great energy of his imagination was a fusion of honesty and seriousness, pain and laughter. His life was a thing of moment and urgency, pure and undistracted." -- Marilynne Robinson "Prose of amazing power and stylishness." -- Philip Roth "When Denis Johnson is justly praised for his voice, I always think, just the one? He has an eerie symphony at his command." -- Karen Russell "Denis Johnson was and is and will continue to be one of our strongest writers. His work has an indigenous beat that marks it as unmistakably American." -- Don DeLillo "Denis Johnson was and is, without question, significant and great." -- Michael Cunningham "Everyone who reads Denis Johnson comes away thinking he has spoken directly to some wracked and ragged, yet transcendent, aspect of their own secret heart." -- Louise Erdrich "His prose tiptoes a tightrope between peace and calamity." -- Anthony Doerr "Nobody wrote with more brutality and mercy, more hilarity and grace. What a genius he was." -- Elizabeth McCracken "Blistering, brilliant." -- Jeffrey Eugenides "A true American artist ... a revelator for this still new century." * New York Times * "A dizzying mix of humour and near tragedy that leaves us unsure whether to laugh or weep... For too long, Denis Johnson was not sufficiently appreciated. A fine novelist and poet, as well as one of the best short story writers of his generation." -- John Burnside * Spectator * "An instant classic...A masterpiece of deep humanity and astonishing prose.... It's filled with Johnson's unparalleled ability to inject humor, profundity, and beauty-often all three-into the dark and the mundane alike. These characters have been pushed toward the edge; through their searches for meaning or clawing just to hold onto life, Johnson is able to articulate what it means to be alive, and to have hope." * Publishers Weekly (starred review) *
Denis Johnson was the author of nine novels, one novella, two books of short stories, five collections of poetry, two collections of plays and one book of reportage. Among other honours, his novel Tree of Smoke won the 2007 National Book Award and was a finalist for the 2007 Pulitzer Prize, and Train Dreams was a finalist for the 2012 Pulitzer Prize.