Train Dreams

Train Dreams 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 twentie

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 wDenis 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 captures the disappearance of a distinctly American way of life.

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Train Dreams

  1. Poet, playwright and author Denis Johnson was born in Munich, West Germany in 1949 and was raised in Tokyo, Manila and Washington He earned a masters degree from the University of Iowa and received many awards for his work, including a Lannan Fellowship in Fiction 1993 , a Whiting Writer s Award 1986 , the Aga Khan Prize for Fiction from the Paris Review for Train Dreams, and most recently, the National Book Award for Fiction 2007.

511 Reply to “Train Dreams”

  1. I refuse to stain this small perfect book with a long review This short novel is a dream the kind you dip into, just for a drowsy second, yet wake from to find youself still immersed in a great epic wounded by its sorrow, giddy with its marvels all visited upon you in the blink of an eye.The story of Robert Grainier, a laborer in the Great Northwest during the first third of the last century, is full of tragedy, tall tales, temporal dislocations, homespun humor, plain speaking, and supernatural [...]

  2. God needs the hermit in the woods as much as He needs the man in the pulpit Denis Johnson s Train Dreams, a novella shortlisted as a Best Book of 2011 by almost everyone from the New York Times to Esquire, and also considered for the Pulitzer, is a haunting little book that blossoms from the vine of American history Spanning from the turn of the 20th century up until the late 60s, Johnson positions the reader to watch as the American west is transfigured by the technological growth of the nation [...]

  3. I finished this book a few days ago and still it haunts me During and shortly after reading it I got frustrated by all the apparent symbolism that I couldn t for the life of me put together But stepping back and thinking about it from a non intellectual point of view, it is just an evocative and gorgeously written book Much of the writing is very simple and matter of fact, but then without you really noticing it he transitions into a very beautiful and poetic passage There are three such passage [...]

  4. He very often wept in church Living up the Moyea with plenty of small chores to distract him, he forgot he was a sad man When the hymns began, he remembered I sometimes wonder if I m a natural reader There are moments, like the greater part of last year, where there s nothing I like , and whichever book that comes my way will be devoured in short notice Other times, like the last couple of months, I become picky, books don t manage to grab a hold of me due to other distractions that monopolize [...]

  5. Joins pantheon of stellar first novellas from literary cosmonauts such as The Neon Bible A Pale View of Hills This is better than the drug chronicle and much imitated Jesus s Son without that confusion, the story is than captivating and, this being Johnson, devastating American dreams, y all It s all here in the perfect, brutal lil package.

  6. I hardly know any where reading ends and real life begins the border between the two is getting hazier and hazier.Take Thursday evening, for example I was on a train finishing a book called A Girl Is a Half formed Thing A powerful book, such a powerful book that when I d finished, I needed a distraction so I took out my iPad to see if I had a book on the ereader app to help me pass the rest of the journey pleasantly Train Dreams seemed perfect at a little over a hundred pages, and so it proved t [...]

  7. Owing to the fact that I have read the semi autobiographical short story collection Jesus Son a few times and you should absolutely do that , I had a wrong headed assumption about the subject matter of this novella Based partly on the title, I figured this would be a modern take on the same territory in JS, of the grim realities and screwed up interpersonal dynamics of off the grid types, namely junkies and alcoholics who haven t done their taxes in a decade and smell like cigarettes, patchouli [...]

  8. A solid story, sad and satisfying, one which might, initially, provoke feelings of d j vu in those who ve read A Prayer for the Dying An American mountain man, stoic and self sufficient, enjoys an all too brief period of love and intimacy before tragedy and loss impose, and he s left to fend for and only for himself Johnson s gentle prose resists a stereotype, rendering the protagonist credible and admirable The inevitable wolf girl scene defies belief but situates the story in a mythic traditio [...]

  9. As me and my better half perused the shelves of our local library, we came upon Train Dreams by Denis Johnson Even though I hadn t read any of Johnson s works prior to, I had had the curiosity to check him out via my girlfriends mentioning of Jesus Son last year As I flipped to the back page to look at the author s picture something I m strangely accustomed to do , I see a man sitting with his back to the wall with black tinted sunglasses looking up to the heavens, sun drenched, cool and collect [...]

  10. This is a brief novella, easily readable in one sitting well written and lyrical It is a third person historical tale about the life of Robert Grainier spanning the period from the 1880s to the 1960s with the depression of the 1930s standing out in the background Grainier is a manual worker who works over the years on the railroads, logging, transporting but generally earning from the sweat of his brow Grainier is an ordinary man with hopes and dreams, a decent man who suffers loss and tragedy, [...]

  11. I like novellas, they feel a lesser undertaking than settling into a novel in its full form For me it also opens up options I might spurn if I though I d have to take on three hundred or pages I first picked up this thin book at at a local bookstore I was attracted by a single sentence as I briefly flicked through it I didn t read the blurb or otherwise pre acquainting myself with the tale to be told I later bought the Kindle version A mystery read, and a satisfying one A strange and unsettling [...]

  12. Early in this novella, but not in his chronological life, Robert Grainier feels obliged to help fellow workers grab a Chinese laborer, working in the Pacific Northwest, and throw him off a span of bridge into a gorge below They are ultimately unsuccessful, but Death is not denied otherwise in the life of Grainier In fact, everyone he meets seems to have a sorry end.The story of this man this Country is told in sepia toned, non linear vignettes His Asian adventure if you want to read something i [...]

  13. As a small child he arrived on a train and later would not have a clear understanding of where he came from or what his background was For a time, as an adult he would make a living from trains, clearing the trees so tracks could be laid, a necessity as and people moved West It is the early twentieth century and great changes are taking place in the United States Yet for the most part the West was a raw and hard place for a man to make a life and raise a family.Told in a spare and stark manne [...]

  14. This novella is a work of great magical story telling A story that will lay for some time in your thoughts, of novella length but holds depth and meaning than many nine hundred page novels out there now I can t stress enough on how you must read this If I ever one day i write a novella I aspire and dream to write with this quality and craftsmanship.The main protagonist is a man of good virtue he is on the straight and narrow, due to many things he has witnessed and taking account of One day in [...]

  15. If anyone can be accused of writing fiction way too closely tailored to the tastes of prizegivers, it s Philip Roth And Jonathan Franzen.And John Updike.Okay, a lot of writers But let s add Denis Johnson to that list, which is a damn shame because it wasn t always this way Jesus Son and Angels are both great fucking books, visceral and ghostly at the same time But then something happened, and I m not sure what, but Johnson became this sudden chronicle of the American mythology Okay, fine, doesn [...]

  16. Frost had built on the dead grass, and it skirled beneath his feet If not for this sound he d have thought himself struck deaf, owing to the magnitude of the surrounding silence All the night s noises had stopped The whole valley seemed to reflect his shock He heard only his footsteps and the wolf girl s panting complaint Denis Johnson, Train Dreams So, I ve just read my second great American novella set in Northern Idaho Train Dreams isn t A River Runs Through It and Other Stories, but it trave [...]

  17. I could not sync up with this story, expected something much bleaker There didn t seem to be room for the inclusion of the mysterious secrets of Moya Valley and the main character s bent toward howling with the wolves at night There was certainly nothing wrong with the writing, the tale simply did not click with me.

  18. This small book has a great palette of feelings to offer you En entire life opens and expands itself while reading the compact chapters Mesmerising.

  19. Denis Johnson won an O Henry prize for this novella of the old American West in 2003 It originally appeared in the Paris Review but is now reissued and bound in hardback with an apt cover art a painting by Regionalist Thomas Hart Benton called The Race If you contemplate the painting for a while, you may feel the ghost of the book s protagonist, Robert Grainier, as he, too, felt the ghosts and spirits of the dead.Robert Grainier is a man without a known beginning at least, he didn t know his par [...]

  20. This short and sweet novella tells the story of one mans life in the Pacific North West he never gets close enough to see the ocean however I was waiting for it all to be pulled together in the end and this didn t quite happen, but I gave it three stars anyway because of the way the narrator told the story The narrator makes this worth reading because the events are beautifully described in the language of the time.

  21. Novellas can often be underwhelming, there is so little time to be hooked by the narrative, to fall for the characters For a good half of this reading I was thinking small, small, small Tiny splinters aggravating the surface of the imagination I think Grainer s wolf howling was the fulcrum and suddenly I was right there amid the charred wilderness, four walls and no roof Later as the years unfold and Grainer s bones fist and knot, none of it feels like dying Some of what goes on stills reads sma [...]

  22. H certos livros que, logo primeira linha, nos aprisionam dentro deles.A nos mostram outro mundo, outra poca, outra gente, outras vidas t o distantes da nossa e, simultaneamente, t o perto pelas suas tristezas, pelos seus desejos e, acima de tudo, pelo manter dos sonhos, que alimentam a capacidade de sobreviv ncia do ser humano.No fim, libertam nos deixando nos o cora o em cacos.Roubo, para aqui, a opini o do Luis Miguel que, tal como eu, teve a sorte de trope ar em Denis Johnson review show

  23. To start, I must admit that, once again, this is the kind of book I eat up to a certain degree I don t want to say it s impossible for me to hate a book that takes place out west, the fabled chunk of the United States that I know as home, because I m sure there are books of the area that I wouldn t like I just haven t met them yet thank god.Train Dreams reflects on the life of Robert Grainier, who works on the railroads, forests, and roads of the Moyea Valley, rougly somewhere in the Idaho panha [...]

  24. I was looking for a little piece of Americana in this novella, and Denis Johnson certainly delivered It tells the story of Robert Granier, who s an everyday kind of guy, working in logging and bridge building in the early 20th Century It s a sad story, since Granier lives, for the most part, a lonely and long life against the stunning backdrop of the Idaho Panhandle Granier does experience love, but it s a love that is tragically cut short due to a raging fire that transforms the landscape and G [...]

  25. This is one of those books that make me feel like a Failed Grown Up, because it s been reviewed as an excellent literary read, and accomplished literary people confirm that it s an excellent literary read, and then I read it and I don t like it I picked it up because it was one of the stories that the podcast Literary Disco was reviewing when they turned out to love it, and I disliked it utterly, I began to wonder where I went wrong, or what I was missing and, later, to wonder if maybe this wasn [...]

  26. Can a man live through most of a century and not really be a part of it The historical events that mark a century for history are wars, rise and fall of nations, political leaders, inventions, cultural shifts beginning with artists they have virtually no impact on Robert Grainie in this novella He lives an isolated existence that spans two thirds of the 20th century in the woods of the north Idaho Panhandle His only connection with a larger world are the trains that rumble through the village ne [...]

  27. I checked this out because I enjoyed the movie, Jesus Son, based upon Johnson s book Really liked the writing Good stuff My first experience with Denis Johnson I ll definitely check out some of his other books.

  28. The life of Robert Grainier, in sum Grainier himself lived than eighty years, well into the 1960s In his time he d traveled west to within a few dozen miles of the Pacific, though he d never seen the ocean itself, and as far east as the town of Libby, forty miles inside Montana He d had one lover his wife, Gladys owned one acre of property, two horses, and a wagon He d never been drunk He d never purchased a firearm or spoken into a telephone He d ridden on trains regularly, many times in autom [...]

  29. A friend recommended this to me A quick read under 200 pages The first chapter or two I questioned why, but as it progressed I began to understand It is a telling of the life of one man living in Idaho an orphan from Canada or Utah who really knows It is set in the early to mid parts of the 1900 s An Americana story The main character takes us through his life slowly, quite detailed, for such a short Novel, under 200 pages Grainer s life is not such a simple one Starting as a self described slac [...]

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