“Johnson offers visions and sadness and laughter. But it’s the sentences—those adamantine, poetic sentences—that made him one of America’s great and lasting writers. It’s the sentences that live on.”


This is supposed to be the last collection of writings by the author who recently passed away.

The collection consists of five stories. The title story kick starts the book, and this and the story that closes the book are the real gems here.

Johnson was a writer of dark tales and these stories don’t disappoint. From the story about a man who gets a phone call from a former wife to tell him that she is dying, and after a long talk with her, he’s not sure which wife it was, to a story that consists only of letters sent from a drug rehabilitation clinic that slowly show the deteriorating effect that rehab is having on this individual, and the story about Strangler Bob which takes place in a prison, the stories explore the dark side of these men that Johnson was an expert at exploring.

But to me, the real gem here is the final story, Doppelgänger, Poltergeist which is the amazing story of a college professor who teaches poetry and his student who is an exceptional poet.

Besides a love of poetry they share something else. A deep obsession to Elvis Presley. As their lives progress, this obsession will lead one of them into areas clearly not explored yet.

The five stories average about 45 pages or so each, and the collection shows us for one last time, the creative genius of the author. He will be missed.



Reviewed by:

Richard Franco

Added 14th February 2018

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Richard Franco