The Largesse of the Sea Maiden: Stories (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews

Denis Johnson is one of those authors I have a hard time talking about without lapsing into absurd superlatives, so I won't even try to restrain my praise for his latest (and, sadly, last) story collection. The title story alone is worth the price of admission, and ranks among the best short stories I have ever read; The Largesse of the Sea Maiden is as disarmingly funny and as sneakily sublime as anything Johnson has written. We are lucky that Denis Johnson, who sadly passed away last May, has graced us with this final masterpiece--it's as fine a swan song as any author could hope for.

— From Theo


Twenty-five years after Jesus' Son, a haunting new collection of short stories on mortality and transcendence, from National Book Award winner and two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist Denis Johnson

The Largesse of the Sea Maiden is the long-awaited new story collection from Denis Johnson. Written in the luminous prose that made him one of the most beloved and important writers of his generation, this collection finds Johnson in new territory, contemplating the ghosts of the past and the elusive and unexpected ways the mysteries of the universe assert themselves.

Finished shortly before Johnson's death, this collection is the last word from a writer whose work will live on for many years to come.

Advance praise for The Largesse of the Sea Maiden

"The secret of all this is the shifting wattage, the slipshod magnificence and crazy wonder of the Johnsonian sentence. Clause by clause, word by word, anything becomes plausible. . . . Whatever Johnson had gone through, however he expressed it on the page, it would all have been wasted had it not ended up being funny, because then a major percentage of wisdom would have been missing. . . . He led a certain life and found ways of giving expression to that life."--Geoff Dyer, The Guardian

"We lost one of the great writers of his generation last year, but before his death, Denis Johnson finished off one final, brilliant short story collection. . . . Beautifully indicates Johnson's singular voice, the way he contemplated the past and edges toward the cosmic."--Entertainment Weekly

"The late Johnson writes here with rare understanding, compassion, and generosity of spirit. Elegiac, yet oddly hopeful, these stories represent a summation of hard lessons that in the end can only be called wisdom."--Library Journal (starred review)

"Mesmerizing . . . psychologically revelatory, spiritually inquisitive, and grimly funny . . . Johnson will be remembered and revered as an incisive storyteller fluent in the comedy and tragedy of human confusion and the transcendence of compassion."--Booklist (starred review)

"American literature suffered a serious loss with Johnson's death. These final stories underscore what we'll miss."--Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"An instant classic . . . a masterpiece of deep humanity and astonishing prose."--Publishers Weekly (starred review)

About the Author

Denis Johnson was the author of nine novels, one novella, two books of short stories, five collections of poetry, two collections of plays, and one book of reportage. Among other honors, his novel Tree of Smoke won the 2007 National Book Award and was a finalist for the 2007 Pulitzer Prize, and Train Dreams was a finalist for the 2012 Pulitzer Prize.

Coverage from NPR

Product Details
ISBN: 9780812988635
ISBN-10: 0812988639
Publisher: Random House
Publication Date: January 16th, 2018
Pages: 224
Language: English