Resuscitation of a Hanged Man

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Overview

Leonard English, a sad and intense young man recovering from a suicide attempt, moves to the Cape Cod resort of Provincetown to work as a disk jockey cum private detective. On his first day there, he encounters a beautiful young woman and falls desperately in love with her — only to find out she prefers those of her own sex to men. English's first assignment, a search for an elusive artist, proves equally frustrating. As winter lengthens and Leonard's anguish mounts, his desperate quests — for the artist, for ...

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The Resuscitation of a Hanged Man: A Novel

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Overview

Leonard English, a sad and intense young man recovering from a suicide attempt, moves to the Cape Cod resort of Provincetown to work as a disk jockey cum private detective. On his first day there, he encounters a beautiful young woman and falls desperately in love with her — only to find out she prefers those of her own sex to men. English's first assignment, a search for an elusive artist, proves equally frustrating. As winter lengthens and Leonard's anguish mounts, his desperate quests — for the artist, for love, for redemption — take on an increasingly apocalyptic coloring.

Thematically ambitious and written with virtuoso style, this book probes the mysteries of faith, hope, and love in a work of stirring resonance and great beauty--a memorable achievement.es hard-boiled theology and a redeeming wit--the perfect spiritual tonics for tough times."--Kirkus Reviews.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Johnson ( Angels ; Fiskadoro ) is a writer whose grace and style are frequently highlighted by the incongruity of his plot twists and character development. The hero of this novel, Leonard English, has come to Provincetown after an unsuccessful attempt at suicide by hanging. He finds employment as a radio disc jockey and part-time detective, falls in love with a lesbian, and stumbles along in a haze of tobacco and alcohol. Fascinated with his employer, who owns the radio station and runs the detective agency, and by the people who are the objects of his absurd surveillance activities, English gets involved in intrigues he doesn't understand. Driven beyond his professional commitment to search for a missing man, English is clearly propelled by a desperate need to locate himself, which he finally does in a funny but ultimately tragic final episode. Johnson's dark humor and crisp prose collude to keep the reader in a state of anxiety over the hero's psyche as he flounders toward resolution. Ambiguities, and not answers, lie at the heart of this book's questions about faith and hope. While it's easy to be amused by Johnson's deft narrative talents, readers will also be moved by this burdened, melancholy tale. (Feb.)
Library Journal
Leonard English, a failed suicide from Kansas, arrives in Provincetown, Massachusetts, in bleakest November to begin a new life as a private detective. The first thing he notices is that the women in town look remarkably mannish; then he realizes that they are men. The one real woman he meets is gay, but he pursues her anyway. A self-proclaimed ``knight of faith,'' English tries to embrace Catholicism, but the local priest doubts his sincerity. Cut off from God and convinced that a secret paramilitary group is on his trail, English arms himself for a violent last stand. Johnson, author of the noir classic Angels (1983), here rehabilitates the Kierkegaardian religious novel. At once hilariously funny and profoundly serious, Resuscitation of a Hanged Man is philosophical fiction of the first order and a minor masterpiece of New England local-color literature.-- Edward B. St. John, Loyola Law School Lib., Los Angeles
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060934668
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 6/28/2001
  • Series: Harper Perennial
  • Edition description: 1ST PERENN
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 5.31 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.58 (d)

Meet the Author

Denis Johnson is the author of The Name of the World, Already Dead, Jesus' Son, Resuscitation of a Hanged Man, Fiskadoro, The Stars at Noon, and Angels. His poetry has been collected in the volume The Throne of the Third Heaven of the Nations Millennium General Assembly. He is the recipient of a Lannan Fellowship and a Whiting Writer's Award, among many other honors for his work. He lives in northern Idaho.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 2, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Amazing novel...

    This book was quite enjoyable. It is impossible not to get submerged into the story, Johnson hooks you and never lets go. Denis Johnson is a master of the English language. It seems like every word is necessary for the story. Johnson has a focus on providing the reader a well-written novel that lacks useless page filling words. Resuscitation of a Hanged Man makes you question your own life. This book is truly a work of art. A+ for Denis Johnson and Resuscitation of a Hanged Man.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted December 5, 2008

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