The Largesse of the Sea Maiden
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
"These four stories rank with Johnson's best work, but the title story, a catalogue of singular moments related by a man who tells us he's passing through life as if it were a masquerade, ranks with the best fiction published by any American writer during this short century."--New York Magazine
"Most of these stories are terrific, and two--the first and the last--are out-of-this-world. I say this not out of deference to the recently deceased, but in awe. When Johnson wrote at reckless full force, his sentences and storylines blasted barriers, discovering those odd places where, as one of his narrators here says, 'the Mystery winks at you.' . . . The Largesse of The Sea Maiden contains the kind of work every writer would like to go out on: fresh, profound and singular. It affirms literature's promise to believers, the gift of eternal voice."--Maureen Corrigan on Fresh Air, NPR
"The book in front of us today is one for which many people have waited--as if outside, in the acid rain--a long time. It's the follow-up to Jesus' Son, perhaps the most influential and beloved book of American short stories of the past three decades. . . . The Largesse of the Sea Maiden picks up, to a large extent, where Jesus' Son left off . . . with] prose vernacular and elevated at the same time. One can say about this book what one narrator says about the poems of a writer he loves: 'They were the real thing, line after line of the real thing.'"--The New York Times
"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.