Synopses & Reviews
“Thanks to its wicked style and pacing, Mule
lets me forget Im reading serious literature while I follow its terrifying story into the land of the all-American damned.” — Walter Kirn, author of Up in the Air
“Mule is swift, taut, and relentless, both a rip-roaring drug tale and a fascinating portrait of a decent human being whose morals slowly disintegrate under unbearable financial strain.” — Lauren Groff, author of The Monsters of Templeton
James and Kate are golden children of the late twentieth century, flush with opportunity. But an economic downturn and an unexpected pregnancy send them searching for a way to make do. A friend in Californias Siskiyou County grows prime-grade marijuana; if James transports just one load from Cali to Florida, hell pull down enough cash to survive for months. And so begins the life of a mule.
A page-turning, Zeitgeist-capturing novel that plunges us into the criminal underworld with little chance to take a breath, Mule is about young people trying to make do in a moment when the American Dream they never had to believe in — because it was handed to them, fully wrapped and ready to go at the takeout window — suddenly vanishes from the menu.
“With adrenaline-infused sentences and a seat-gripping story line, Mule is a novel that illuminates contemporary American desperation, both its dangerous precipices and its thrilling, overwhelming freedom.” — Dean Bakopoulos, author of My American Unhappiness
"[A] mesmerizingly hazy journey through evil....Johnson is a crafty writer....His characters cross-pollinate the novel with human emotions and inclinations....Ultimately, Johnson brings a poet's eye and style to the novel." Scott Martelle, The Los Angeles Times Sunday Book Review
"A kinky jeremiad...powered by amusingly feverish images of California-as-Armageddon....The book does move right along, despite its bulk, and the writing is frequently charged with energy and wit." Kirkus Reviews
"Johnson's strengths lie in his lyrical descriptions of the Pacific Coast and the surprising depth he evokes in his character development....Reminiscent of the work of Robert Stone and Jim Harrison." Benjamin Segedin, Booklist
"[A] black comedy of Wagnerian proportions....The pace is excruciatingly slow, the structure sloppy, and the huge cast of weirdos unwieldy, but Johnson's druggy prose is simply gorgeous." Library Journal
A contemporary noir, Already Dead
is the tangled story of Nelson Fairchild Jr., disenfranchised scion to a northern California land fortune. A relentless failure, Nelson has botched nearly every scheme he's attempted to pull off. Now his future lies in a potentially profitable marijuana patch hidden in the lush old-growth redwoods on the family land.
Nelson has some serious problems. His marriage has fallen apart, and he may lose his land, cash and crop in the divorce. What's more, in need of some quick cash, he had foolishly agreed to smuggle $90,000 worth of cocaine through customs for Harry Lally, a major player in a drug syndicate. Chickening out just before bringing the drugs through, he flushed the powder. Now Lally wants him dead, and two goons are hot on his trail. Desperate, terrified and alone, for Nelson, there may be only one way out.
This is Denis Johnson's biggest and most complex book to date, and it perfectly showcases his signature themes of fate, redemption and the unraveling of the fabric of today's society. Already Dead, with its masterful narrative of overlapping and entwined stories, will further fuel the acclaim that surrounds one of today's most fascinating writers.
Nelson Fairchild has a thriving marijuana business in California's lush redwood country. But he may lose land, cash, and crop in a divorce settlement. Needing quick cash, Nelson agreed to smuggle $90,000 worth of cocaine through customs for drug dealer Harry Lally. But Nelson chickened out and flushed the powder. Now, Lally wants him dead. This is award-winning writer Denis Johnson's biggest and most complex novel yet.
For three generations Nelson Fairchild's family has owned miles of coastal Northern California, a region to whose grandness, he believes, the best people are drawn. But it's also a land of interminable rains, puzzling droughts, and cloying fog-banks. And some of its fine people have become, in Fairchild's eyes, "isolated minds bending around tightly to feed on themselves." These are his people the burnouts and mystics, the bikers and surfers, the witches and warlocks.
Into this world comes Carl Van Ness, a man bent on suicide who thinks of himself as "already dead," drifting along the coast until he finds this strange community waiting for him. Then he collides with Nelson Fairchild. The pacts Fairchild makes first with criminal associates, later with the would-be suicide, finally with a demon all have to be paid for. The lengths to which he's willing to go ultimately become the depths to which he must sink before he's ready to confront himself. And his journey leads readers into the labyrinth of Northern California's demimonde.
A novel about the recession generation and a young couple who turn to drug trafficking to make it through.
About the Author
Tony DSouza is the author of three novels, including the award-winning Whiteman. He has contributed to The New Yorker, Playboy, Esquire, Outside, Salon, Granta, McSweeneys, O. Henry Prize Stories, Best American Fantasy, and elsewhere. A recipient of the Sue Kaufman Prize, Florida Gold and Silver Medals for fiction, and fellowships from the Guggenheim and the NEA, Tony was nominated for a National Magazine Award for coverage of Nicaraguas Eric Volz murder trial and spent three years in Africa with the Peace Corps.