Already Dead - Denis Johnson This is a tough book to call. Denis Johnson is an awesome writer, and the vision and specific descriptions in the book are wonderful to behold. But, there is also a problem with the sense of movement. For the first couple hundred pages, the book really brings you along with a sense of anticipation. But then it simply, well, goes away! A few scenes are just weird and trippy; a few affairs are pretty irrelevant; and ultimately, I almost gave up on it three times - the last of these just a few dozen pages from the end! (That last is a good indication of a serious problem.). It was nice to see some Nietzsche quotes make their way into the narrative, and some other speculative ideas about mind and nature, but they didn't go all that far, either.

But then, being who I am, I wonder, too, is it me? Did I miss something? Was I in the wrong "space" for this book? Is it the kind of book where you're already supposed to be a D.J. Fan? (This was my first of his novels.). I picked it up in part because I love Northern California settings for novels, and this was very embedded in a North Bay forest landscape, Mountain View Road and Booneville and redwoods and pot plants and absurd post-hippies. But folks will nevertheless do better with old standbys from Pynchon or Boyle or Robbins.