Already Dead
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Already Dead : A California Gothic

3.67 (2,096 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

A contemporary "noir, Already Dead" is the tangled story of Nelson Fairchild Jr., disenfranchised scion to a northern California land fortune. A relentless failure, Nelson has botched nearly every scheme he's attempted to pull off. Now his future lies in a potentially profitable marijuana patch hidden in the lush old-growth redwoods on the family land. Nelson has some serious problems. His marriage has fallen apart, and he may lose his land, cash and crop in the divorce. What's more, in need of some quick cash, he had foolishly agreed to smuggle $90,000 worth of cocaine through customs for Harry Lally, a major player in a drug syndicate. Chickening out just before bringing the drugs through, he flushed the powder. Now Lally wants him dead, and two goons are hot on his trail. Desperate, terrified and alone, for Nelson, there may be only one way out. This is Denis Johnson's biggest and most complex book to date, and it perfectly showcases his signature themes of fate, redemption and the unraveling of the fabric of today's society. "Already Dead, " with its masterful narrative of overlapping and entwined stories, will further fuel the acclaim that surrounds one of today's most fascinating writers.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 448 pages
  • 134.62 x 205.74 x 27.94mm | 340.19g
  • HarperPerennial
  • New York, NY, United States
  • English
  • Harperperennial ed.
  • 006092909X
  • 9780060929091
  • 337,919

Back cover copy

A contemporary noir, Already Dead is the tangled story of Nelson Fairchild Jr., disenfranchised scion to a northern California land fortune. A relentless failure, Nelson has botched nearly every scheme he's attempted to pull off. Now his future lies in a potentially profitable marijuana patch hidden in the lush old-growth redwoods on the family land. Nelson has some serious problems. His marriage has fallen apart, and he may lose his land, cash and crop in the divorce. What's more, in need of some quick cash, he had foolishly agreed to smuggle $90,000 worth of cocaine through customs for Harry Lally, a major player in a drug syndicate. Chickening out just before bringing the drugs through, he flushed the powder. Now Lally wants him dead, and two goons are hot on his trail. Desperate, terrified and alone, for Nelson, there may be only one way out. This is Denis Johnson's biggest and most complex book to date, and it perfectly showcases his signature themes of fate, redemption and the unraveling of the fabric of today's society. Already Dead, with its masterful narrative of overlapping and entwined stories, will further fuel the acclaim that surrounds one of today's most fascinating writers.
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Review quote

Denis Johnson is one of the few American writers who could legitimately be said to possess a visionary sensibility, a nearly Blakean appreciation of the territory of the human soul."--Newsday""Already Dead looks very much like Johnson's bid to hit the charts, with a bullet. . . . This new novel offers just about everything that thriller buyers look for: drugs, booze, sex, murderous violence, a soupcon of the supernatural and a large cast of enterprising psychopaths."--"Time"Murderers and dope fiends never sounded so poetic as they do in this tale of narcissistic, Nietzsche-obsessed antiheroes. . . . What makes this book hard to put down. . . is the operatic grandeur of Johnson's prose, which is sometimes beautiful and often hypnotic. The witch in the book isn't the only one who knows how to enchant."--"People""His most ambitious book yet. . . Denis Johnson is a master chronicler of wrecked lives whose dead-end journeys he delineates in excruciatingly beautiful prose.""Elle"Mr. Johnson writes beautifully, with energy and grace, as though his hands were on fire and his head caked in ice. . . . Every page boasts exhilarating flights of Mr. Johnson's prose.""--New York Observer"Johnson's prose conjures up a world that is as tangible as it is magical. He is an utterly brilliant and original talent, a novelist who reminds us just how wonderful fiction can be."--"Philadelphia Inquirer""Just as noir seems exhausted, Denis Johnson comes along with his new novel, "Already Dead." Although Johnson appears to have smashed the genre, only to reassemble its shards, the rich and strange result is greater than the sum of those parts.""Spin"Once Johnson gets his hooks into you'it takes about twosentences'it's . . . pretty much impossible to stop reading. . . .Johnson's splendid ear and eye still get you from episode to episode in style. . . And the sheer obsessive ambitiousness of this intricate, sinister comedy has a witchy, come-hither charm."--"New York Times Book Review
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Rating details

2,096 ratings
3.67 out of 5 stars
5 24% (498)
4 36% (754)
3 27% (565)
2 10% (215)
1 3% (64)
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