Denis Johnson, the new Dickens

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Last summer, the same critics who've long noted Playboy's declining cultural relevance were surprised to learn that the magazine had commissioned Denis Johnson -- author of the 2007 National Book Award-winning novel Tree of Smoke -- to write a 40,000-word serial novel.

Given the impotence of Playboy's impact -- losses for the last quarter of 2008 exceeded $145 million -- Johnson's crime caper will likely get more exposure now that it's been published in book form by Farrar, Straus & Giroux. Nobody Move deserves the attention. Not just for refreshing the hard-boiled idiom of Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler, but also for inventing a variation of the ethical obsessions of Charles Dickens.

The whole story in the Pittsburgh City Paper ...

May 21, 2009 9:42 PM |

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