Pearl Anniversary for a Dirty Wedding: Denis Johnson’s “Jesus’ Son” at 30

Cover of "Jesus' Son"

It’s been three decades since a slim volume of 11 interconnected stories, cobbled together for a few thousand dollars to keep the IRS at bay, changed the landscape of American literature. Denis Johnson’s Jesus’ Son is one of those books you read in a single sitting, again and again.  It’s a repeat offender, in the best sense of the term. A professor at Brooklyn College handed me my first copy in the late 1990’s—he said only this: “Read this. I’ll say no more.”  I read it often, and I’ve been handing it to students, friends, and family members ever since. As we reach its pearl anniversary, I can’t help but connect this book with Matthew 7:6 and not “casting your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot, and turn again and rend you.” Such is the wisdom of this small, epiphanic book about a drifter, druggie, drunk, and ne’er do well as he slowly finds himself working out of drug addiction and acedia and toward a hard-earned, sober redemption and reengagement with the world.

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Vol.1 Brooklyn’s Best of 2018: Fiction

The fiction we admired most in 2018 ran the proverbial gamut from thought-provoking surrealism to evocative realism. Some illuminated the present day or recent past, while others ventured into much more uncharted territory. Some took us to unimaginable psyches; others showcased how ordinary people dealt with the extraordinary. Here’s a look at ten of our favorite works of fiction this year.

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The Making of “Hundreds of Days,” With Literature: An Interview With Mary Lattimore

Hundreds of Days, the new album by Mary Lattimore, is a stunning, sprawling work abounding with moving compositions anchored by Lattimore’s distinctive harp playing. It’s the result of a residency at the Headlands Center for the Arts, located in northern California, and the result is Lattimore’s most moving work to date. Her tour of the US begins today–she’ll be in NYC on May 29th, at Union Pool, for her record release show, and will be back on June 28th for […]

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