'One of the best non-fiction books of the year...It's terrifying, with moments of strangled hilarity.' Books of the Year, New Statesman
In this astonishing collection of essays and journalism by one of America's greatest novelists, Denis Johnson reports on the far sides of human experience - from the war zones of Somalia and Afghanistan, to religious rallies in Texas and self-imposed isolation in the Alaskan wilderness.
'Is Denis Johnson braver, more reckless, or just more foolish than most of those who pretend to the title "journalist"? It doesn't matter, in the end - he is willing to place his lonesome ass in the way of seriously bad and scary stuff, and then bring back the tale told better than it's ever been told before.' Esquire
'A witty, beautifully composed look at troublesome corners of the world in the last decade of the century of extremes' Scotsman
'He describes things with extraordinary precision and pulls off a wonderful trick - as he takes you deeper into the madness and terror, he makes you laugh ... I can't remember war reporting as good as this: you could say that it rocks' Evening Standard
'Electrifying and captivating ... filled with despair, humour and moral dilemma' Glasgow Herald
'As far as non-fiction went, nothing touched Seek ... [it] reads like Stupid White Men's evil twin.' Books of the Year, City Life
'A brilliant book told in Johnson's spare, melancholy voice' Uncut
'There isn't an American voice I love listening to more than Denis Johnson's' Michael Herr, author of Dispatches
'Johnson's self-excoriating honesty is something very, very rare in journalism, or indeed good literature' Irish Times
'Johnson is no mere commentator; he writes with the insight of a novelist and the street-wisdom of the bad homeboy' The Times
'His work leaves the doors of perception gaping ajar, like the wooden gates to some lost and empty downtown bar' The Guardian
As a novelist, Denis Johnson is renowned for his portraits of the dispossessed lurking at the fringes of American life: the drifters, the jobless, the junkies and midnight DJ's. In this collection of articles and essays written over twenty years, he explores what happens when groups like these band together to form new and often threatening identities. From travelling through war-ravaged Liberia in murderously unpredictable company Johnson joins a Bikers for Jesus rally in Texas and hangs out with local militia groups who hate Jews, blacks and taxes. He visits conventions of hippies old and young, tries mining for gold in the Alaskan wilderness, swaps stories with the Taliban in Afghanistan and finds himself the last American left in Somalia. At every crossroad he finds true believers - in God, government, guns or all three - whose conviction is tested in places where beauty and horror exist in such proximity that they might be interchangeable, and violence, poverty and moral transgression go unchecked, even unnoticed. With the haunting lyricism, candour and humour for which his work is renowned, Johnson records his own need for transcendence - or even just moral certainty - in situations where all bets are off, and anything seems possible. The result, an intoxicating mixture of political disquisition, travel journal and self-exploration, is a work of astonishing literary energy and honesty that takes us where we've never been and shows us our face in its mirror.
'Is Denis Johnson braver, more reckless, or just more foolish than most of those who pretend to the title 'journalist'? It doesn't matter, in the end - he is willing to place his lonesome ass in the way of seriously bad and scary stuff, and then bring back the tale told better than it's ever been told before' Esquire
'One of the best and most compelling novelists and story writers in the nation' Elle