Train Dreams | Granta

  • Published: 04/11/2021
  • ISBN: 9781783787623
  • Granta Books
  • 128 pages

Train Dreams

Denis Johnson

Robert Grainier is a day labourer in the American West at the start of the twentieth century – an ordinary man in extraordinary times. Buffeted by the loss of his family, Grainier struggles to make sense of this strange new world. As his story unfolds, we witness both his shocking personal defeats and the radical changes that transform America in his lifetime.

Suffused with the history and landscapes of the American West – its otherworldly flora and fauna, its rugged loggers and bridge-builders – Train Dreams captures the disappearance of a distinctly American way of life.

To have written something this concise, this muscular, this moving and - yes, why not say it? - this eternal, seems little short of miraculous. But we have come to expect miracles from Johnson. In this age of plodding bandwagons and slavish imitation, Johnson is a one-hundred-per-cent authentic American original and an undisputed master of his craft

Rupert Thomson

A masterpiece... one of the best prose writers in our time

Michael Ondaatje, Herald

I don't think there is a sentence in the book that isn't perfectly made

Ann Patchett, New York Times

The Author

Denis Johnson is the author of The Name of the World, Already Dead, Jesus’ Son, Resuscitation of a Hanged Man, Fiskadoro, The Stars at Noon, and Angels. His poetry has been collected in the volume The Throne of the Third Heaven of the Nations Millennium General Assembly. He is the recipient of a Lannan Fellowship and a Whiting Writer’s Award, among many other honors for his work. His novel Tree Smoke won the National Book Award in 2007, and Train Dreams (Granta 2012) was shortlisted for the Pulitzer Prize. He lives in northern Idaho.

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From the Same Author

Jesus' Son

Denis Johnson

Jesus’ Son is a visionary chronicle of dreamers, addicts, and lost souls. These stories tell of spiralling grief and transcendence, of rock bottom and redemption, of getting lost and found and lost again. The narrator of these interlinked stories is a young, unnamed man, reeling from his addiction to heroin and alcohol, his mind at once clouded and made brilliantly lucid by these drugs. In the course of his adventures, he meets an assortment of people, who seem as alienated and confused as he; sinners, misfits, the lost, the damned, the desperate and the forgotten. Our of their bleak, seemingly random lives, Denis Johnson creates modern-day parables of a harsh and devastating beauty.

Denis Johnson on

Fiction | The Online Edition

Train Dreams

Denis Johnson

In the summer of 1917 Robert Grainier took part in an attempt on the life of a Chinese laborer caught, or anyway accused of, stealing from the company stores of the Spokane International Railway in the Idaho Panhandle.

Fiction | The Online Edition

Happy Hour

Denis Johnson

The day was ending in a fiery and glorious way. The ships on the Sound looked like paper silhouettes being sucked up into the sun.