Beyond the Book: Background information when reading Tree of Smoke

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Tree of Smoke

A Novel

by Denis Johnson

Tree of Smoke
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  • First Published:
    Sep 2007, 624 pages
    Sep 2008, 624 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Lucia Silva

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Beyond the Book

Most of Denis Johnson's fans discovered him through his 1992 collection of short fiction, Jesus' Son. His trademark down & dirty style, paired with slim, grim stories of drug-addled 70's drifters drew critical acclaim, a movie deal, and a cult following. But before all that came four novels and at least two collections of poetry, the first published in 1969 while Johnson was studying with Raymond Carver at The University of Iowa. The pervasive themes of Denis Johnson's work are all there in his poems: loneliness, otherness, and the possibility of grace in a world gone bad. But here, the power of his writing is stripped bare, revealing an immediate tenderness that softens the ...

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