Wednesday, March 19, 2008

So Many Bright Flowering Young Men


It’s not hard to see why Denis Johnson’s Tree of Smoke would be at least superficially an ideal candidate for all sorts of lionizing book awards and best-of-year rigamarole. It’s weighty, comes from a name author very conspicuously “branching out,” and tackles a theme (Vietnam) with tons of trendy potential since it’s been so lately overlooked during our current clusterfuck in Iraq. I’m surprised the thing doesn’t already have it’s own Stuff White People Like entry.

As a novel, TOS is involving but unspectacular. Johnson prods themes of otherness and moral guilt so relentlessly he doesn’t just invite the influence of Greene and Conrad, he practically screams it out loud, something I was doing to myself wrt Greene even before a character specifically mentions The Quiet American. To his credit, I think Johnson does a brilliant thing by making the chaotic, largely unsatisfying morass of his plot mirror that of the war itself. If something as spectacular and revolutionary as certain plans suggest really did go down, it would make for a far more thrilling read, I’m sure, but the confusion and fuckery that actually ensues feels far more true to life.

Johnson also has some really worthwhile things to say about myth as well as youthful ennui, the latter of which I’m guessing shouldn’t be too surprising to those who’ve read Jesus’ Son (I haven’t, which is why I’m only guessing). True enough, the scenes depicting the last high school days of a soon-to-enlist kid named James are the novel’s most skillfully drawn, admirably conveying that familiar mixture of nihilism and big dreams that stirs inside so many frustrated young men. For the most part, however, Johnson’s style is what lets him down. He’s just not a terribly distinctive writer, and very rarely in the course of 600+ pages did I catch myself on a particular sentence or description and felt compelled to savor it. He also didn’t seem to know what to do with certain characters, introducing a Dennis Hopper type rather carefully early on and then turning him loose to damn near ruin the novel’s ending.

36 comments:

goodgame77 said...

想像是什麼並不重要,想像能做什麼才重要..................................................

黑色星期五 said...

希望能常常看到你的更新 .........................................

touch said...

每一粒厄運的種子,卻包孕著未來豐盛的果實..................................................

pass said...

gogo成人影片a成人短片尼克成人電影免費觀看成人動畫成人鴛鴦吧尋夢中部聊天室尋夢元聊天是尋夢園大學生尋夢園聊天館尋夢園遊戲尋夢聯盟廁所盜攝免費看援交中壢援交平台援高雄晴色小說無碼日本女優甜心寶貝貼影片區情色大全情色a影片情色人成情色小文學情色小說上看情色小說成人學情色小說圖貼情色小舖情色文張情色文章sex情色文學頁情色文學曼gba真實賽車遊戲下載專區 vul3小遊戲一葉情貼圖片區貼圖片區

v辰原 said...

nice job! waiting for your new artical. ........................................

禎雨 said...

Hello~Nice to meet you~..................................................

EarleP_Gre2285 said...

It's great!!.............................................

o0625TaylorJ_Duraz said...

正點喔 多謝大大無私的分享 感恩拉( ̄∀ ̄)........................................

PorshaCoghlan梁子珠 said...

文章很棒~感謝!!..................................................

詩婷 said...

忍一時風平浪靜,退一步海闊天空......................................................

韋于倫成 said...

得意人,聽腳步聲就知道。..................................................

茂慧 said...

與人相處不妨多用眼睛說話,多用嘴巴思考,..................................................

韋于倫成 said...

Great minds think alike...................................................

筠銘 said...

來看看你囉~blog很棒! ........................................

羅文浩 said...

No pains, no gains.............................................................

淑芬楊 said...

希望我的支持可以帶給你快樂--加油.................................................................

江婷 said...

喜歡你的部落格,留言請您繼續加油.................................................................

江婷 said...

Pay somebody back in his own coin.................................................................

李豪湖仁陳堅豪 said...

當一個人內心能容納兩樣相互衝突的東西,這個人便開始變得有價值了。............................................................

吳婷婷 said...

感謝您的分享~~~加油~加油~加油~~~..................................................................

吳婷婷 said...

要用心經營哦~~祝福你~~
..................................................

趙筱婷terrifields汪華昕 said...

甘巴嗲!祝你愈來愈好!............................................................

國昆 said...

好地方!下次再來看~~加油!期待............................................................

佳皓佳皓 said...

來看你囉~加油~~!!............................................................

陳佑發 said...

要拼才會贏,生活就像戰爭…什麼時候才有和平啊…>"<...........................................................

dawsonfelicia張君dawsonfelicia均 said...

我們必須先有哭泣,才有歡笑;也必須先感到人生的悲哀,然後才感到人生的快樂。............................................................

涂宜芳涂宜芳 said...

老天爺賦予了強者的能力,就是要他比弱者多擔待..................................................

曹初帆張武茜 said...

生命的意義,是在於活的充實;而不是在於活得長久。............................................................

黃於志豪士賢 said...

你不能左右天氣,但你可以改變心情.................................................................

恩宛玲如 said...

在莫非定律中有項笨蛋定律:「一個組織中的笨蛋,恆大於等於三分之二。」............................................................

玄王季玄王季玄王季 said...

Lets cross the bridge when we come to it............................................................

蕙陳春宗陳穎 said...

真得很不錯的blog,加油哦............................................................

璇陳陳陳竹 said...

打擾你實在不好意思, 你的blog很好看呢!!!!............................................................

孫邦柔 said...

要在憂患恥辱的環境裡,創造我們自力更生的新生活。..................................................

靜蔡蔡蔡蔡怡 said...

成熟,就是有能力適應生活中的模糊。.. ... ............................................................

Maddie said...

Hi, Nice post thanks for sharing. Would you please consider adding a link to my website on your page. Please email me back.

Thanks!

Madison
maddie0147 at gmail.com

Music videos
Celebrities