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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.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Sharon on 06-25-12
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.
10 of 11 people found this review helpful
By Caitriona on 01-18-13
Would you listen to Train Dreams and Jesus' Son again? Why?
Yes - certainly Train Dreams. The story affects you long after you stop listening. The writer has a very delicate touch, never descending to sentimentality or mawkishness.
Who was your favorite character and why?
Granier; a simple man's interaction with the world told with such dignity and pathos. Some scenes, like the fire, or the worlf girl, really affected me.
Have you listened to any of Will Patton’s other performances before? How does this one compare?
I listen to a lot of Will Patton's work, mainly because I am addicted to his readings of James Lee Burke's novels. He is always brilliant. The cadence and tonality in his voice here is quite different to the JLB material. Granier's story is told with a breathy tenderness that I just loved. On foot of getting addicted to his readings of JLB's work, I have seen a lot of Patton's film work and he has extraordinary range and nuance, which clearly spills over to his readings.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By James on 06-11-12
A Modern Clasic
Train Dreams is one of those American novellas - like Billy Budd, Member of the Wedding or The Pilgrim Hawk - that one can read again and again and find ever more wonderful things in, and Will Patton is the voice of Denis Johnson; you can hear the pleasure he takes as the prose rises and falls to rise again. This edition with both the novella and the stories from Jesus' Son is essential listening and re-listening.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
By Jaime on 04-29-14
Beautifully written and beautifully read.
What did you like most about Train Dreams and Jesus' Son?
Such extraordinary writing, beautiful in the detail and Will Patons voice is so rich and spell binding, any review from me couldn't do it justice.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful