Seek: Reports from the Edges of America & Beyond

By Denis Johnson

Part political disquisition, half go back and forth magazine, half self-exploration, Seek is a suite of essays and articles within which Denis Johnson primarily takes at the world.And now not an obliging, easygoing international both; yet fairly one during which horror and sweetness exist in such proximity that they may good be interchangeable. the place violence and poverty and ethical transgression cross unchecked, even left out. a global of such wild, rocketing strength that, greedy it, something in any respect is possible.

Whether touring via war-ravaged Liberia, mingling with the crowds at a Christian Biker rally, exploring his personal authority concerns in the course of the lens of this nation's military teams, or trying to unearth his internal assets whereas mining for gold within the wilds of Alaska, Johnson writes with a mix of humility and funny candor that's in all places present.

With the breathtaking and sometimes haunting lyricism for which his paintings is popular, Johnson considers in those items our want for transcendence. And, as readers of his past paintings understand, Johnson's route to consecration often calls for a limning of the darkest abyss. If the trail to wisdom lies in event, Seek is an engaging list of Johnson's profoundly relocating pilgrimage.

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The sopping canvas tents collapsed and we kids succumbed, of their immense, drowning include, to panic thoroughly unbecoming the ranks. We didn’t comprehend no matter if to hold directly to the tents and cross down with them or abandon send and be swept away at the heaving seas of dust. Jerry stalked one of the weeping scouts like Captain Ahab, reminding us that he’d not just passed through this time and again within the struggle, yet undergone it donning just a jockstrap. yet his voice used to be tiny within the wind and rain, and at last he gave up exhorting us to be males and led us off the mountain.

One of the Afghans, it’s stated, the 2 most crucial elements of residing are hospitality and revenge. for 2 days the previous president and his brother hang via their necks, lifeless, from a red-and-white concrete platform within the capital’s middle, their eyes swollen close, mouths and nostrils full of cigarettes and paper funds, their blood dripping onto the pavement underneath. Najibullah was once the secular guy, with a swimsuit and a haircut, fats, moustachioed, Marxist-educated and accordingly neglectful, perhaps scornful, of Islamic precepts.

The tape cuts fast to some degree numerous hours later within the interrogation. Doe is bare now apart from a codpiece of rainy rag, earless, nonetheless certain as earlier than, sitting out through a river. He retains wasting recognition, his head drooping ahead onto his bloody chest. “If you loosen my bonds,” he retains announcing, “if you loosen my bonds. ” “We can untie your elbows,” an adjutant tells him, “but we won’t untie your fingers. ” At this aspect within the interrogation, Prince Johnson doesn't seem to be current. “What did you do with the Liberian people’s funds?

Electrical lighting burned within the ceiling excessive overhead like Christmas constellations. fresh water from a spring that flowed out again. scorching showers, air-conditioned bedrooms. A poultry goddamn sandwich? Why in the world now not! during this position I remained for numerous days ahead of I understood I’d been taken prisoner. I didn’t lack partners. A handful of NPRAG legislators had accrued right here, or cherished to hang out the following, or have been additionally being held right here. simply weeks past they’d been elected through a procedure they admitted was once hasty yet insisted was once honest, they usually definitely didn’t have to persuade me of something, yet they attempted.

A part dozen of the U. S. international provider remained, and the Marines manage machine-gun positions round the embassy. The electrical energy went off in Monrovia. The water stopped working. The nutrition ran out. The civil warfare became nauseatingly murderous. an environment of chuffed horror ruled the hours as Taylor’s males, wearing looted marriage ceremony robes and bathe caps, battled with the military for the mansion. The bathe caps have been for the rain. the marriage clothes have been with out clarification. in the meantime, Johnson’s troops, donning crimson berets and women’s hairpieces liberated from the wigmakers, raced throughout the streets in hot-wired Mercedes Benzes, spraying bullets.

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