Jesus' Son, the first collection of stories by Denis Johnson, presents a unique, hallucinatory vision of contemporary American life unmatched in power and immediacy, and marks a new level of achievement for this acclaimed writer. Set in the Midwest and West, they are narrated by a young man, an alcoholic and heroin addict, whose dependencies have led him to petty crime, cruelty, betrayal, and various kinds of loss. Many of them are centered around the Vine, a bar in an Iowa town where the narrator meets his friends and forms alliances "based on something erroneous, some basic misunderstanding that hadn't yet come to light". In "Work", he and another man vandalize an empty house, stripping it of electrical wire to sell for scrap; "Dirty Wedding" evokes the emotional scars of an abortion from an unusual viewpoint; in "Beverly Home", our hero finds himself spying on a Mennonite couple through their bedroom window. In their intensity of perception, their neon-lit evocation of a strange world brought uncomfortably close, the stories in Jesus' Son offer a disturbing yet eerily beautiful portrayal of American loneliness and hope.