Complete summary of Denis Johnson’s Car Crash While Hitchhiking. eNotes plot summaries cover all the significant action of Car Crash While Hitchhiking. Stories Strangely Told is a monthly series that explores formal experiment in short-form fiction. When I was twenty and thought I had just about. Car Crash While Hitchhiking themeTold in the first person’s voice, by a seemingly psychic narrator who of the voices of the family in the car, and caring not about the impending car crash (Johnson 6). Johnson, Denis. “Car.

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Paris Review – Car-Crash While Hitchhiking

A short story must be, by definition, short. How do you keep a narrative brief and still have it function as a story?


Compared to writing novels, writing short fiction is mainly a question of knowing what to leave out. The first two paragraphs of the story divulge the entirety of its action: Soon, other unusual statements appear.

I knew every raindrop by its name. I sensed everything before it happened.

Car Crash While Hitchhiking Analysis |

We are, at this point, about twenty lines into the story, and the ground has fallen away beneath us. What has happened to get him in this altered state?

Why is he capable of making vatic utterances about the weather and of registering the sweetness of human voices while not caring about their impending demise? No explanation is given.

What a pair of lungs! She shrieked as I imagined an eagle would shriek. It felt wonderful to be alive to hear it!

Which is as good a definition of fiction writing as I can think of. Mirroring the chronological liberties of the opening paragraph, he leaps forward: It saves only one person at a time, and the world is full of people.


As if to emphasize this hard truth, the story concludes with ddenis furious last line: All this Denis Johnson does in a little over a thousand words. By conflating registers of time and tone, he delivers a narrative where the personal brushes up against the eternal, all from a single incident, or accident, on a rainy night.