Denis Johnson, "Two Men"

They just wanna go home, or maybe find a fight, but a deaf-mute seems to really want a ride.

(from Jesus’ Son)

Plotwise, I didn’t quite follow this one. Was the guy really deaf? What were those places he led our narrator too? Is this how Denis Johnson works?: He has these dazzling ideas, easily summed up concepts about drunk druggy uglies hitting a bunny but trying to save the babies, or finding a drive-in theater in a snowstorm and mistaking it for a cemetery, or getting into a car destined for an accident, or coming out of the bar only to find a stranger in the backseat. But. But, but, the narrator doesn’t change, not perceptably, the plot doesn’t resolve most of the things one might assume are the central conflicts. And the point really is that there’s no point, not in these lives, not in any lives. All we are is blind baby bunnies who wriggle the wrong way and get smushed.

2 thoughts on “Denis Johnson, "Two Men"

  1. RJ March

    I just read this book and found it to be like a car crash I couldn’t keep myself from looking at. It was ugly and devastating and so finely rendered. This story especially.

  2. Anonymous

    I think you missed the point completely. The narrator didn’t change? At the end, he’s got a woman on the ground with a gun to her head. Johnson left clues everywhere — you just have to look harder.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>