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Train Dreams by Denis Johnson
Train Dreams tells the story of Robert Grainier, an orphan who comes to northern Idaho in the late nineteenth century. He works on a railroad and then as a hauler, marries the only woman he ever loved, and loses her and their daughter to a wildfire. He's a man who hasn't traveled far, lives alone, and howls with the wolves at night. He dies without any heirs. Yet he lives ordinary life in extraordinary times. Denis Johnson's novella has received positive reviews with the New York Times saying, "It's a love story, a hermit's story and a refashioning of age-old wolf-based folklore like 'Little Red Cap.' It's also a small masterpiece. You look up from the thing dazed, slightly changed."