Seek by Denis Johnson


A lot of people who I think are cool and literary talk about Denis Johnson, so obviously (to be cool and literary), I needed to read something by him, too. He’s better known for Jesus’ Son, but I was recommended Seek since I primarily have written essays. And what essays they were! I have to say that I was taken off guard at first. Most of my reading lately has been more on the whimsical, sometimes romantic, and even (at times) wonderfully light-hearted side — Seek was not that. Instead, I was faced with brutal retellings of civil wars, stranded couples in Alaska, a missing murderer, and a group of bikers who love Jesus. That being said, Johnson carried a sort of dark humor even in the very dark circumstances that he found himself in. Some essays were more serious than others, and they were definitely all an advanced read (this book took me longer to read than most.) Yet all in all, I liked it a lot. But it also made me feel like my problems were trivial compared to those faced in these tragic corners of the world where Johnson traveled, like a true and loyal writer. I guess things can be sad in different scales. (I sure hope so.)