night hawks cover

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Night Hawks
192 pages; Scribner
Best known for his masterful novels and essays, Johnson wrote this rare story collection over a period of 13 years—resulting in a masterpiece. Settings vary from ancient Greece to the trail of escaping slaves to a Japanese monastery to contemporary urban American life. Many of these short pieces feel like parables, as when an isolated Buddhist priest discovers that "he himself had been supplying the grief and satisfaction all along, from within." Others offer piercing social commentary: "Every day the customers at Sassy Hair Salon and the wigs lovingly check each other out, and then after long and careful deliberation, the wigs always buy the women. Unstated, but permeating every particle in that exchange of desire, is a profound, historical pain, a hurt based on the lie that the hair one was unlucky enough to be born with can never in this culture be good enough." Unflinching in his observations, Johnson ultimately offers a message of empowerment and hope. 
— Dawn Raffel