Book of the Week: Train Dreams by Denis Johnson

24 Oct|Julian Mash

A SLIM book of 115 pages that says more than most novels could hope to do in 500. I cannot over-state how wonderful this book is. It tells the story of Robert Grainer, a day labourer who works on the railroads in the American West of the early twentieth century. Johnson’s style is spare and dream-like as we learn of Robert’s terrible losses and personal pain set against the brutal and awe-inspiring landscape that he works in. Johnson is simply one of the best prose writers at work today and I would challenge anyone not to be moved by this miniature masterpiece. JM

Denis Johnson’s Train Dreams is published by Granta, £7.99