By Megan Harlan
July 21, 2000 at 04:00 AM EDT

The Name of the World

A-
type
  • Book
Genre

At just under 130 pages, Denis Johnson’s latest, lyrical book The Name of the World — in the same league as his 1992 Jesus’ Son (now a movie) — is a riveting read: a wry, intense, exquisitely written interior monologue by middle-aged history professor Mike Reed, who has felt trapped by grief since his wife and daughter died in a car crash four years earlier. As Mike numbly teaches classes, attends dinner parties with colleagues mired in their problems, becomes obsessed with a wild art student (and part-time stripper), starts to self-destruct, and faces the future, the novel traces the excruciating movement from mourning to living. By the graceful finale, his journey feels like nothing less than a rebirth. A-

The Name of the World

type
  • Book
Genre
author
  • Denis Johnson
publisher
Complete Coverage
  • The Name of the World
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