Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Shrubbery of Doom

A long time ago I was supposed to review Tree of Smoke by Denis Johnson, the author of the excellent short-story collection Jesus Son. I got distracted by life and never finished that review. The book was terrible, but somehow it won the National Book Award.

Anyway, here's the first paragraph, the only one I completed in its entirety (I had a lot of suggestive jottings), from that review.
'Of the three people I know who set out to read this novel, I am the sole survivor to reach the end. It lends a certain glamor to what was otherwise a joyless undertaking. Reminiscent of the Vietnam War which gives Tree of Smoke its setting, to have read this book in its entirety is to emerge a veteran of a senseless waste of life. Other phrases which describe both Vietnam and Tree of Smoke include “interminable quagmire” and “catastrophic South-Asian adventure.”'

1 comment:

  1. you know, I also tried and failed to read that book about four time, it slowly turned me into Gene McCarthy.