Denis Johnson, the author of Jesus’ Son and Tree of Smoke, is a wonderful writer. He’ll lull you into his tale with clear, straight forward prose and then surprise you with a poetic scene of both beauty and import. This simple novella tells the story of Robert Granier, a laborer in the Northern Rockies during the first half of the twentieth century. The events of Granier’s life, though sometimes tragic, are nothing special. However, Johnson manages to demonstrate that even the simplest of lives contains substance, significance and magic, and each of us, no matter how modest our influence, is part of history’s flow.