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