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Train Dreams by Denis Johnson

Train Dreams (2002)

by Denis Johnson

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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972778,867 (3.91)195
  1. 10
    Bright's Passage by Josh Ritter (zhejw)
    zhejw: Both short books are set in rural country in the early 20th century and involve a fire, a widower, and mysterious relationships with animals.

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» See also 195 mentions

English (73)  Italian (1)  Dutch (1)  Spanish (1)  Norwegian (1)  All (77)
Showing 1-5 of 73 (next | show all)
Love it ( )
  ibkennedy | Jul 21, 2017 |
No me ha quedado muy claro el mensaje, quizás no tenga ninguno en concreto ya que recorre una forma de vida ya desaparecida a través de los ojos de un hombre con un historia en apariencia corriente pero bastante peculiar. ( )
  naturaworld | Aug 12, 2016 |
Another writer might have made this an epic but Johnson created a novella with huge impact. This is an account of Robert Grainier's tough, lonely life in the American Northwest early in the 20th century, although it gives the impression of an earlier pioneering time. The writing is poetic, the story haunting, surreal. But despite all that can be said in favour of Johnson's expertise, it is not an entirely pleasant read.

I picked up this book because it is set in the area just south of the border where I live. Johnson mentions British Columbia, a similar landscape sharing the Kootenai River (Kootenay in Canada). The heartbreaking forest fire Grainier experienced can be appreciated after the devastating fires of 2015 in this area. ( )
2 vote VivienneR | Feb 4, 2016 |
Not much here to like or dislike. Reading this book was a non event .
  deldevries | Jan 31, 2016 |
This is a big jewel in a little package made of matter-of-fact details. Johnson tells a tale of a man who faces life’s challenges and wins despite having lost almost everything. Robert Grainier endures in his fight against nature and we are blessed who can read this transcendent story of his triumph. ( )
  dbsovereign | Jan 26, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 73 (next | show all)
Wie Treindromen leest, kan maar één reden bedenken - een armzalige - waarom dit boek geen prijs waardig werd geacht: de Pulitzerdames en -heren zullen het wel te dun hebben bevonden. Het beslaat inderdaad nog geen honderd pagina's. Maar in die beperkte ruimte presenteert Jonhson de rijkdom van een vuistdikke roman.
Treindromen is op een wonderlijke, knarsende manier zowel meedogenloos als vol compassie, een werk waarin Johnson zich een rauwe poëet en een meester van de suggestie betoont. Je moet wel een motherfucker zijn om zo'n boek geen Pulitzer Prize te gunnen.
added by sneuper | editde Volkskrant, Hans Bouman (Jan 26, 2013)
The denouement of Train Dreams is so tragic and surreal that the reader at first denies its grisly approach: yet when it comes, it is written with such credibility that it fulfils the book's theme, the collapse of the rational world for a decent man. Softly and beautifully, this novel asks a profound question of human life: is the cost of human society and so-called civilisation perhaps just too high?
The board of the Pulitzer prize for fiction failed to award it to the shortlisted Train Dreams – or to any work. Poor souls, cowering from the howls of the old American mountains.
added by sneuper | editThe Guardian, Alan Warner (Sep 13, 2012)
What Johnson builds from the ashes of Grainier’s life is a tender, lonesome and riveting story, an American epic writ small, in which Grainier drives a horse cart, flies in a biplane, takes part in occasionally hilarious exchanges and goes maybe 42 percent crazy.

It’s a love story, a hermit’s story and a refashioning of age-old wolf-based folklore like “Little Red Cap.” It’s also a small masterpiece. You look up from the thing dazed, slightly changed.
added by zhejw | editNew York Times, Anthony Doerr (Sep 16, 2011)
The visionary, miraculous element in Johnson's deceptively tough realism makes beautiful appearances in this book. The hard, declarative sentences keep their powder dry for pages at a time, and then suddenly flare into lyricism; the natural world of the American West is examined, logged, and frequently transfigured. I started reading "Train Dreams" with hoarded suspicion, and gradually gave it all away, in admiration of the story's unaffected tact and honesty.
added by zhejw | editThe New Yorker, James Wood (pay site) (Sep 5, 2011)
Train Dreams draws its title ostensibly from the fact that Grainier had “started his life story on a train ride he couldn’t remember, and ended up standing outside” another train, but it could just as easily stem from his early work experiences on the railroad, which “made him hungry to be around such other massive undertakings.”

By the end of the book, it seems as though this hunger has hardly been sated ― Grainier’s few celebrations are tiny and even his failures, while frequent, are never grand ― but Johnson’s accomplishment is grand, and this book, short as it is, feels like a massive monument to a deceptively simple life and the wilderness in which it was lived.

» Add other authors (8 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Denis Johnsonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Polman, MaartenTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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In de zomer van 1917 nam Robert Grainier deel aan een aanslag op het leven van een Chinese arbeider die betrapt was op diefstal, of daar in ieder geval van beschuldigd werd, uit het bedrijfsmagazijn van de Spokane International Railway in de noordelijkste punt van Idaho.
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Book description
Denis Johnson’s Train Dreams is an epic in miniature, one of his most evocative and poignant fictions. It is the story of Robert Grainier, a day laborer in the American West at the start of the twentieth century---an ordinary man in extraordinary times. Buffeted by the loss of his family, Grainer 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, this novella by the National Book Award--winning author of Tree of Smoke captures the disappearance of a distinctly American way of life.
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Presents the story of early twentieth-century day laborer Robert Grainer, who endures the harrowing loss of his family while struggling for survival in the American West against a backdrop of radical historical changes.

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