De­nis John­son, au­thor of ‘Je­sus’ Son,’ dead at 67

The Standard Journal - - OBITUARIES - By Hil­lel Italie As­so­ci­ated Press Na­tional Writer

NEW YORK — De­nis John­son, the prize-win­ning fic­tion writer, poet and play­wright best known for his sur­real and tran­scen­dent story col­lec­tion “Je­sus’ Son,” has died at age 67.

John­son died on May 24 ac­cord­ing to his lit­er­ary agent, Ni­cole Aragi. John­son died of liver can­cer at his home in The Sea Ranch, out­side of Gualala, Cal­i­for­nia.

“De­nis was one of the great writ­ers of his gen­er­a­tion,” Galassi said in a state­ment Fri­day. “He wrote prose with the imag­i­na­tive con­cen­tra­tion and em­pa­thy of the poet he was.”

John­son’s hon­esty, humor and vul­ner­a­bil­ity were in­tensely ad­mired by read­ers, crit­ics and fel­low writ­ers, some of whom mourned him on Twit­ter. He won the Na­tional Book Award in 2007 for his Viet­nam War novel “Tree of Smoke” and was a fi­nal­ist for the Pulitzer Prize for “Tree of Smoke,” and, in 2012, for his novella “Train Dreams.” His other works in­clude the novel “Laugh­ing Mon­sters” and “An­gels,” the po­etry col­lec­tion “The Veil” and the play “Hell­hound On My Trail.” The story col­lec­tion “The Largess of the Sea Maiden,” his first since “Je­sus’ Son,” is sched­uled to come out Jan­uary from the Pen­guin Ran­dom House im­print Dial Press.

Jonathan Galassi, pres­i­dent and pub­lisher of Far­rar, Straus & Giroux, is­sued a state­ment Fri­day call­ing John­son “one of the great writ­ers of his gen­er­a­tion.”

“He wrote prose with the imag­i­na­tive con­cen­tra­tion and em­pa­thy of the poet he was,” said Galassi.

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