As he approached the festival, waiting in a line of cars, he watched a woman lean out of an orange Datsun.She “blew a long, clear note on a ram’s horn.” (MORE: Read Lev Grossman on the new Charles Dickens biography) Three things I want to say about that.Sullivan has been writing some of the exciting magazine journalism of the last decade, mostly for GQ and also The Paris Review, Harper's and The Oxford American.
In "The Final Comeback of Axl Rose," it's when he connects the Guns N' Roses frontman's flight from the stultifying culture of Indiana to his own.
In "Getting Down to What Is Really Real" it's when he realizes MTV's "The Real World" has a psychologist that manipulates the cast members to pump up the drama.
So good was it, I thought, that when picked its favorite long-form essays of the week, mine would be among them. After I read his DFW essay, I made it my business to become something of a JJS scholar. I did this partly because I enjoyed reading his work, but also so I could bite his style more effectively.
Even more galling, they had included and it was by John Jeremiah Sullivan. JJS, as I have come to think of him, may be the best essayist of his generation.
Stylistically, Sullivan is erudite and with-it without being overly flashy or self-conscious.
He appears to have read and listened to everything.
The book leads off with “Upon this Rock,” his epic account of a Christian rock festival called Creation, which he attended in a 29-foot RV.
“Jesus had never been in this RV.” JJS seems to be magnetized: interesting things just automatically happen around him, or maybe he just notices them more than other people.
His sentences are clean, his dialogue is sharp and his leads usually are excellent.
" I don't know, but I'd like to find out.