top of page
  • Writer's pictureSusan Edsall

Recommendation: Angels - a novel by Denis Johnson

Updated: Dec 4, 2019

Angels - a novel by Denis Johnson
Angels - a novel by Denis Johnson

Angels - a novel by Denis Johnson

After I read Angels I thought If I could write this well after having written 50 books I'd be thrilled. He knows how to get you inside the body of people who are suffering.

Here are a couple of sentences from Angels that give you an idea of the power of his writing:

“All around them men drank alone, staring out of their faces. They'd been here twenty seconds, and already nothing was happening.”

“He found a cigarette and struck a match—for a moment there was nothing before him but the flame. When he shook it out and the world came back, it was the same place again where all his decisions had been made a long time ago.”

Johnson was 34 years old when he wrote Angels, his first published book. You can read about him on Wikipedia.

This is book the description that appears on Angels tells the story of two born losers. Jamie has ditched her husband and is running away with her two baby girls. Bill is dreaming of making it big in a life of crime. They meet on a Greyhound bus and decide to team up.

So begins a stunning, tragic odyssey through the dark underbelly of America – the bars, bus stations, mental wards, and prisons that play host to Jamie and Bill as they find themselves trapped in a downward spiral though rape, alcohol, drugs and crime, to madness and death.

I know, I know. It sounds grim. But the heart in this book is that he sees, he feels, he understands these people and this life. I couldn't put the book down.

You can order Angels from your local bookstore. If, inexplicably, you don't have a local bookstore, you can find Angels at:


About Susan Edsall

Writing is how I make my way through the thicket of what we’ve made of this planet we’re on. It takes me a long time and lots of words. Social media mystifies me. How do so many people have so much to say, so quickly, and with such resolute certainty? Read more about Susan >




“Only connect! That was the whole of her sermon.”

E.M. Forster

bottom of page