Tree of Smoke

Tree of Smoke

Book - 2007
Average Rating:
5
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The lives of Skip Sands, a spy-in-training engaged in psychological operations against the Vietcong, and brothers Bill and James Houston, young men who drift out of the Arizona desert into a war, intertwine in a novel of America during the Vietnam War.
Publisher: New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2007
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780312427740
0312427743
9780374279127
0374279128
Branch Call Number: FICTION JOHNSON
Characteristics: 614 p. ; 24 cm

Opinion

From Library Staff

The author presents a vision of human folly, and gritty, sympathetic portraits of men and women desperate for an end to their loneliness, whether in sex or death or by the grace of God.

The story of Skip Sands - spy-in-training, engaged in Psychological Operations against the Vietcong - and the disasters that befall him thanks to his famous uncle, a war hero known in intelligence circles simply as the Colonel.


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lukasevansherman
Dec 17, 2015

Sprawling, intense and visceral, Denis Johnson's "Tree of Smoke" will no doubt become one of the great books about the Vietnam War. With its large cast of characters, multiple plots and large scale, it's like a baggy Victorian novel soaked in blood, weed and sweat. It does drag on towards the end, but few other American authors (James Ellroy, maybe DeLillo) have attempted something as ambitious, massive and profound as this. Like "Jesus' Son," it's raw, yet filled with piercing, lyrical moments of beauty. Maybe not a masterpiece, but awfully close.

dccmatthew Apr 21, 2012

Brilliant writing, a tour de force of poetic evocation of the chaos of any war. Very funny satire (or truth) of the intercises between reality and military intelligence. Think "Deer Hunter" with a wicked sense of fun and devilish humor.

k
kkelly00
Feb 22, 2012

A narrow look at the Vietnam War era, focusing on CIA intrigue and the ruined lives of the characters. Crammed full of swearing, drunken and cynical guys with little insight into any larger context. Anti-communist perspective combined with misplaced religion. I kept reading this very long book because I thought surely someone would have learned something from the war. But everyone crashed and burned.

g
GrumpyDave
Dec 06, 2010

2007 - National Book Award - Fiction

c
Cabby
Feb 08, 2008

Amazon.ca top 25 books of 2007.

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