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In the Lake of the Woods | [Tim O'Brien]

In the Lake of the Woods

On a lake deep in the Minnesota woods, Kathy Wade comforts her husband John, a rising political star, after a devastating electoral defeat in which he's been pursued by rumors of the atrocities he committed in Vietnam. But it is clear that something is horribly wrong between them - too much has been hidden. Then Kathy vanishes, along with their boat.
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Publisher's Summary

On a lake deep in the Minnesota woods, Kathy Wade comforts her husband John, a rising political star, after a devastating electoral defeat in which he's been pursued by rumors of the atrocities he committed in Vietnam. But it is clear that something is horribly wrong between them - too much has been hidden. Then Kathy vanishes, along with their boat.

Pursued by rumors of the atrocities he committed in Vietnam, a politician and his wife seek refuge in a cabin in Minnesota, where a mystery unfolds, in this widely acclaimed, best-selling novel.

©1995 Tim O'Brien (P)2011 Audible, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"A beautifully written, haunting novel that evokes lives in deep crisis." (Booklist)

"O'Brien develops several maddeningly plausible explanations, allowing readers to draw their own conclusions in this dark but wonderful novel that should gain him a host of new fans. For fiction collections both large and small." (Library Journal)

"Was she murdered? Did she run away? Instead of answering these questions, O'Brien raises even more as he slowly reveals past lives and long-hidden secrets. Included in this third-person narrative are 'interviews' with the couple's friends and family as well as footnoted excerpts from a mix of fictionalized newspaper reports on the case and real reports pertaining to historical events - a mélange that lends the novel an eerie sense of verisimilitude. If Kathy's disappearance is at the heart of this work, then John's involvement in a My Lai-type massacre in Vietnam is its core, and O'Brien uses it to demonstrate how wars don't necessarily end when governments say they do." (Amazon.com review)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.4 (38 )
5 star
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3.3 (32 )
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Story
3.7 (32 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Molly San Francisco, California, United States 01-30-13
    Molly San Francisco, California, United States 01-30-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Not a life-changing or pivotal war story"

    I read this book for a book group expecting big things, since I fell in love with The Things They Carried. This.. well it fell flat. I wasn't particularly motivated to keep listening, in part because the story wasn't that captivating. The characters no longer held my interest after getting about 1/4 of the way through. In part, it felt like they were colored *too* much by the narration--I disliked the performance of the wife, which made it harder for me to keep listening.

    It might have been better if I'd read it, but I'm not sure. As one person I discussed the book with pointed out, the reliance on the My Lai Massacre and this future senator's role in it felt a bit cheap. The use of multiple possible narratives just didn't strike me as important. The "Evidence" chapters felt a bit like a cop out.

    The only thing that felt really honest about the book was its inclusion of testimonials from the characters who participated in the war--O'Brien, as always, managed to capture what it does to a person when you teach them to kill and teach them to fight. I just don't know that I felt this story was necessary to make that point.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    JON Duluth, MN, United States 02-20-12
    JON Duluth, MN, United States 02-20-12 Member Since 2011
    ratings
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    "Lake of the woods"
    What did you like best about In the Lake of the Woods? What did you like least?

    Attention to detail, I live by the lake. The ending could have had more punch


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    The neighbor


    What do you think the narrator could have done better?

    nothing


    Do you think In the Lake of the Woods needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    Yes, the ending was weak need clifacation


    Any additional comments?

    no

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stephen C. Young Falmouth, MA United States 02-20-12
    Stephen C. Young Falmouth, MA United States 02-20-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
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    5
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    "Powerful writing and performance"
    If you could sum up In the Lake of the Woods in three words, what would they be?

    Tim O'Brien is Tim O'Brien whether the setting is Vietnam or the Minnesota lake country.


    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    The ending left me a bit cold


    Which character ??? as performed by L. J. Ganser ??? was your favorite?

    The wife - by far.


    If you could rename In the Lake of the Woods, what would you call it?

    I wouldn't rename it. Title is perfect.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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