The Largesse of the Sea Maiden by Denis Johnson
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“The Largesse of the Sea Maiden” is a short book, but not a short read. Johnson is a master of quality over quantity, crafting exquisite sentences that capture feelings with poetic precision...[t]he language builds in the brain and haunts the heart, mining the mire for a sense of the sublime.
-The Maine Edge

Synopsis

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

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
 

About Denis Johnson

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Denis Johnson is the author of six novels, three collections of poetry, and one book of reportage. His novel Tree of Smoke was the 2007 winner of the National Book Award.
 
Published January 16, 2018 by Random House. 225 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Critic reviews for The Largesse of the Sea Maiden
All: 5 | Positive: 5 | Negative: 0

NY Times

Good
Reviewed by Dwight Garner on Jan 15 2018

These stories drift, but Johnson finesses his way through them, his 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.”

Read Full Review of The Largesse of the Sea Maide... | See more reviews from NY Times

The Maine Edge

Excellent
Reviewed by Allen Adams on Jan 23 2018

“The Largesse of the Sea Maiden” is a short book, but not a short read. Johnson is a master of quality over quantity, crafting exquisite sentences that capture feelings with poetic precision...[t]he language builds in the brain and haunts the heart, mining the mire for a sense of the sublime.

Read Full Review of The Largesse of the Sea Maide...

Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Geoff Dyer on Dec 31 2017

The secret of all this is the shifting wattage, the slipshod magnificence and crazy wonder of the Johnsonian sentence. Clause by clause, word by word, anything becomes plausible.

Read Full Review of The Largesse of the Sea Maide... | See more reviews from Guardian

NPR

Above average
Reviewed by Michael Schaub on Jan 20 2018

The story is as bleak as anything Johnson has written, but his portrayal of Cass feels almost unbearably true. Johnson treats Cass with compassion, but never patronizes him...

Read Full Review of The Largesse of the Sea Maide... | See more reviews from NPR

NPR

Good
Reviewed by Maureen Corrigan on Jan 09 2018

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.

Read Full Review of The Largesse of the Sea Maide... | See more reviews from NPR

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85%

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