Denis Johnson Has Passed Away

Published May 26th, 2017 - 12:50 GMT
Author Denis Johnson—an exceptional talent. (Cindy Johnson)
Author Denis Johnson—an exceptional talent. (Cindy Johnson)

A great writer has passed away.

Denis Johnson, the remarkable talent behind masterpieces such as the National Book Award-winning Tree of Smoke (2007) and Pulitzer Prize-nominated Train Dreams (2012), passed away peacefully in his home Wednesday morning, May the 24th, 2017.

Johnson was well-loved by fellow authors, critics, and readers alike. Swing Time (2016) author Zadie Smith, usually an insightful critic and thinker, once nailed the quiet awe that Johnson’s work inspired in few words: “The book that meant most to me this year was Train Dreams by Denis Johnson. I don’t have anything intelligent to say about it. I just thought it was very beautiful.”

His most famous work, Jesus’ Son (1992), turned 25 this year. The New York Times reported on a gathering of fans which took place to mark the occasion. Present were Michael Cunningham, author of The Hours (1998), Chuck Palahniuk, author of Fight Club (1996), and actor Billy Crudup. The article is worth reading for understanding the enthusiasm his fans had.

Johnson had published a final novel, The Laughing Monsters (2014), about a Danish-American sent to Sierra Leone on a spying mission.

His novels and short stories were exceptional, and highly recommended.

Twitter has taken the occasion to celebrate the author’s work.


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