Books

The Largesse of the Sea Maiden

Denis Johnson's final book explores untouched subject matter in a collection of short stories.

Denis Johnson

The Largesse of the Sea Maiden is the long-awaited new story collection from Denis Johnson. Written in the luminous prose that made him one of the most beloved and important writers of his generation, this collection finds Johnson in new territory, contemplating the ghosts of the past and the elusive and unexpected ways the mysteries of the universe assert themselves.

Finished shortly before Johnson's death, this collection is the last word from a writer whose work will live on for many years to come. (From Random House)

It's beautiful and poetically written with great sense of humour to it.- Paul Murphy of Wintersleep

Denis Johnson died in 2017, at the age of 67.

From the book

This morning I was assailed by such sadness at the velocity of life — the distance I've traveled from my own youth, the persistence of the old regrets, the new regrets, the ability of failure to freshen itself in novel forms — that I almost crashed the car. Getting out at the place where I do the job I don't feel I'm very good at, I grabbed my briefcase too roughly and dumped half of its contents in my lap and half in the parking lot, and while gathering it all up I left my keys on the seat and locked the car manually — an old man's habit — and trapped them in the RAV.

In the office, I asked Shylene to call a locksmith and then get me an appointment with my back-man.

In the upper right quadrant of my back I have a nerve that once in a while gets pinched. The T4 nerve. These nerves aren't frail little ink lines; they're cords as thick as your pinky finger. This one gets caught between tense muscles, and for days, even for weeks, there's not much to be done but take aspirins and get massages and visit the chiropractor. Down my right arm I feel a tingling, a numbness, sometimes a dull, sort of muffled torment, or else a shapeless, confusing pain.

It's a signal: it happens when I'm anxious about something.


From The Largesse of the Sea Maiden by Denis Johnson ©2018. Published by Random House.

More about The Largesse of the Sea Maiden

Paul Murphy on why he just can't get enough of Denis Johnson's The Largesse of the Sea Maiden. 1:17

More about Denis Johnson

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?

now