Title: Train Dreams
Author: Denis Johnson
Read by: Will Patton
Dates: 11/15/16 – 11/16/16
Crammed into two and half hours of listening time is the extraordinary story of Robert Grainier. A mild-mannered man, a day laborer, a man who falls in love, and together with his wife have a daughter. They live in eastern WA near the Idaho panhandle and have an acre of land. One day while he is away his wife and daughter escape a fire and he loses them both – his wife to death from the fire and his daughter from what he perceives to be drowning. Yet in the subsequent years as his dreams become nightmares he believes his daughter has returned to him, with a broken leg that he splints. She appears to be a wild thing and crawls away.
Other extraordinary things happen – his trips to town occasionally to attend performances by visiting out-of-this- world exhibitionists; a red-coated, she-dog who shows up on his door-step and a few months later whelps wolf pups; the deep resonate howl Grainier himself emits that tend to satisfy his longing for the precious things in his life he’s lost. The Library Journal touts the book this way – “Johnson has skillfully packed an epic tale into novella length.”