Required Reading: September 2011

Denis Johnson's Train Dreams

In 2002, Denis Johnson published a novella in The Paris Review called Train Dreams, about a hermetic railroad worker in early 20th-century Idaho and Washington who loses his wife to a wildfire. Resurrected as a slim standalone volume (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $18), it's a gorgeous western tragedy that's worth the cover price for the devastating last scene alone.

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