The Laughing Monsters (Paperback)
November 2014 Indie Next List
“In the chaos of West and Central Africa, Johnson has found a setting to match his fevered, conspiratorial, and hilarious imagination. Crackling with wild energy and bizarre happenings, The Laughing Monsters tells the story of two desperate and insane souls -- an American spy and an African combat expert and 'man of opportunity' -- who are each trying to pull off bizarre and dangerous schemes without revealing their true motives to each other or even to themselves. Taut, poetic, startling, and filled with incredible specifics about African politics and culture, this is quintessential Denis Johnson madness.”
— Rico Lange, Bookshop Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA
A post-9/11 literary spy thriller from the National Book Award-winning author of Tree of Smoke
Adriko is an African who styles himself a soldier of fortune and who claims to have served, at various times, the Ghanaian army, the Kuwaiti Emiri Guard, and the American Green Berets. He's probably broke now, but he remains, at thirty-six, as stirred by his own doubtful schemes as he was a decade ago.
Although Nair believes some kind of money-making plan lies at the back of it all, Adriko's stated reason for inviting his friend to Freetown is for Nair to meet Adriko's fiancee, a college girl named Davidia from Colorado. Together the three set out to visit Adriko's clan in the Uganda-Congo borderland-but each of these travelers is keeping secrets from the others. Their journey through a land abandoned by the future leads Adriko, Nair, and Davidia to meet themselves not in a new light, but rather in a new darkness.
A high-suspense tale of kaleidoscoping loyalties in the post-9/11 world, Denis Johnson's The Laughing Monsters shows one of our great novelists at the top of his game.
About the Author
Denis Johnson (1949-2017) is the author of eight novels, one novella, one book of short stories, three collections of poetry, two collections of plays, and one book of reportage. His novel Tree of Smoke won the 2007 National Book Award.