Train Dreams and Jesus' Son

  • by Denis Johnson
  • Narrated by Will Patton
  • 5 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Here are two complete audiobooks by Denis Johnson, narrated by Will Patton. Listen to both Train Dreams, and Jesus’ Son, as well as an excerpt from Denis Johnson’s National Book Award-winning Tree of Smoke.
In Train Dreams Robert Grainer is a day laborer in the American West at the start of the 20th century—an ordinary man in extraordinary times. Buffeted by the loss of his family, Grainer struggles to make sense of this strange new world. As his story unfolds, we witness both his shocking personal defeats and the radical changes that transform America in his lifetime. Suffused with the history and landscapes of the American West—its otherworldly flora and fauna, its rugged loggers and bridge builders—this new novella by the National Book Award-winning author of Tree of Smoke captures the disappearance of a distinctly American way of life.
Jesus's Son, recently adapted for the screen, is a now-classic collection of 10 stories from the author of Resuscitation of a Hanged Man and Angels. The stories are narrated by a young man, a recovering alcoholic and heroin addict, whose dependencies have led him to petty crime, cruelty, betrayal, and various kinds of loss.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

I Should Have Disliked These Stories

Trains Dreams was a slow, immersive story that artfully unfolds a story of aman's simple life. I thought I would not care for a story of a man who seemed to have no introspection, but as I read more deeply, I began to understand how well this character was wrought. On the surface he and the supporting characters appeared two-dimensional; but now I believe the author was writing with the simplicity of the times and demonstrated how people truly interacted and presented themselves. What is so uncanny about this novella is observing how the character's true self was revealed so subtly, almost to be missed, if the reading was not attended to more closely.

Jesus' Son--why would I care about a manipulative, opportunistic lost soul as the main character? Written in the first person, I felt like this was the author's real-life story and I did not like him. But the writing was mesmerizing, and for every reprehensible action or discussion the character embarked on, I was transported by the poetic narrative. A purely wonderful experience. And somehow as the character, in such simple steps, attempts to redeem himself, he becomes sympathetic and an individual to be cared about.

Both stories so masterfully written. The narration in both instances was spot-on, a beautiful voice that characterized his subjects with a straightforward but empathetic understanding.
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- Sharon

Unique American voice

Where does Train Dreams and Jesus' Son rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Both these books reveal a special voice in American literature, a perspective at once recognizable and distinctive.


What did you like best about this story?

Train Dreams explores the mindset of America as seen through a man's trials in developing the country, establishing a partnership, and interacting with the landscape.


Which scene was your favorite?

Jesus' Son similarly explores the mindset of a distinctly contemporary creature, the modern addicted youth with little direction or self-awareness. The Mennonite couple's ordinary difficulties and the sense of possible redemption for the protagonist made for compelling listening, particularly with the book's infusion of humor.


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- P. G. Springer

Book Details

  • Release Date: 09-02-2011
  • Publisher: Macmillan Audio