Train Dreams by Denis Johnson

Mike’s review

$18 for a novella is insane.


Drives me nuts when sparse Western United States landscape language is then undercut by super spelling out some shit: “He’d started his life story on a train ride he couldn’t remember, and ended up standing around outside a train with Elvis Presley in it.”


What is it about airports that make stupid thoughts so profound? (Humans have a biological need to be in fear. This could easily be illustrated by tracing unnecessary fears through history: Islam, Chinamen, Irish…)


Thought the wolf-girl daughter would be wrought, but it was handled nicely.


This book is a small thing, barely there (like a life (this thought brought to you by the Denver airport layover)).


Plot summary: I don’t know, not much (see previous note).


If airplanes suck this hard/are this uncomfortable/inconveniencing, how shitty was horse and buggy or even train travel? I feel like you’d have more say, though: when to stop horses, ability to walk around train/leg room.

Other side of that: shut up Mike, you’re on a small plane with a kicking child behind you and a large man who you know is about to recline in front (they all ended up reclining, all 4 of them and there was 1 who didn’t understand that the armrest is a boundary), but at least you’re not in a buggy. Also, xanax would have been a better drug than the usual caffeine consumption, probably.


(I just tagged this frontier, because pioneers, but it is an interesting note that that is the airline which transported me while reading this book.)


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