‘Car Crash While Hitchhiking’ by Denis Johnson

Reasons that I knew I would adore Denis Johnson.

1. He named his short story collection Jesus’ Son, after a line from ‘Heroin’ by The Velvet Underground.

2. After reading about twenty words of this story I felt the ground fall away from my feet and had to stop to take a breath.

Fuckhead is the narrator, and we are complicit in his story immediately, we’ve been sucked us into his world and dragged along with him in this nightmarish premonition of an accident on a rainy night. Life is senseless, redemption is wonderful but fleeting.

There are some people that you meet, complete strangers, and yet after only a few minutes, you bristle, and instantly feel uncomfortable around them. Sometimes, you trust them implicitly. There’s no rhyme or reason for this, other than an instinct, our primal lizard brain kicking in, sensing who the good guys are. The genuine ones.

Denis Johnson writes the truth. He is the truth. And I trust him completely. 

From ‘Jesus’ Son’, 1992, Farrar, Straus & Giroux

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