An earnest apology for the paucity of posts of late. Fortunately, the community of web-letters maintains a healthy conversation even as I recede for a moment.
But I can explain:
My novel, The Tornado Ashes Club, has been purchased.
I don't have a daughter. Hell, I only got a microwave last year. But this book is like a child to me - funny, loud, bit of a rascal, she'll break my heart if I look in her eyes too long.
You wouldn't want to sell your daughter to the highest bidder. But you'd be proud to walk her down the aisle if you knew you could trust the fellow standing up there waiting for her. That's how I feel about Grove/Atlantic - they came and asked me for my blessing, and I gave it.
I imagine my feelings right now are like those you get on that walk up the aisle: sorrow, a bittersweet taste of the mournful beauty of life, joy, the lifting of a crushing burden, fear.
My child no longer belongs just to me. Now she belongs to any reader who can love her good and true.
The Tornado Ashes Club was not an easy book to write. I wanted every sentence to hum with American music, to snap across the page like a note from a slide guitar at the end of a Saturday night when everyone's a little drunk, a little sad, a little in love, and the bottles are lined up along the bar like a ragtag army of brown glass.
There are still a few sentences that don't hum quite that way yet. But I'm confident the good folks at Grove will watch my clothes on the riverbank I wade across those final waters.
I came to a point where I'd either finish the book, or die. I'm still breathing, and there she is.
It feels almost disgusting to accept money for such work. But I will accept it (the money). In our age, it sometimes seems only the liars get rich. Maybe there's hope here for the craftsman, the mystic, the lonely hunter for the true phrase. I'll use the money for apples, cheese, bread, firewood, drop of whiskey here and there. The things that keep a writer going.
There's still work to be done. And I'll keep you all updated.
Denis Johnson (1949-2017)
4 hours ago