National Book Award, Fiction, 2007This is the story of William "Skip" Sands, CIA, engaged in psychological operations against the Vietcong, and the disasters that befall him. This is also the story of the Houston brothers, Bill and James, young men who drift out of the Arizona desert and into a war in which the line between disinformation and delusion has blurred away. In its vision of human folly, this is a story like nothing in our literature.
©2007 Denis Johnson; (P)2007 Audio Renaissance, a division of Holtzbrinck Publishers LLC
"Prose of amazing power and stylishness." (Philip Roth)
"The God I want to believe in has a voice and a sense of humor like Denis Johnson's." (Jonathan Franzen)
"Once Johnson gets his hooks into you, it takes about two sentences, it's...pretty much impossible to stop reading." (The New York Times Book Review)
I have never written a review before, but I feel compelled to write my opinion of this book. Like some others, I found this book to be a total waste of 21 hours of listening. I must say that narrator Will Patton did a superb job catching the tenor of the book perfectly.
There is no discernable story line. I found it to be a collection of disjointed whiney musings of several very depressed individuals none of which had any obvious socially redeemable qualities. The Tree of Smoke has all the insanity of Don Quixote with no trace of the literary style.
Based on Book Award nomination and NYT book review, I slogged through a dreary, pointless 21 hours of this audiobook. Never did find a plot or a point, or any character development. Complete waste.
This book, like the Vietnam war, was a quagmire. A long, pointless, tedious slog through the thick mud of his prose. I fought my way through it desperately hoping for the light at the end of the tunnel that might bring it all together, but it never happened.
Take my word for it and don't bother wading through this one. There are too many other, better audio books waiting.
This book is well worth the time to listen and well worth the time to read as well.
By page 39 or part one section one Denis Johnson leaves the listener or reader with a wonderful Melville quote from Moby Dick.
I am currently relistening to the book and have marked each part and section of the audio to the book.
If this is not a high compliment and a five star book, I have nothing further to write.
different voices for characters were unclear, although I did find the droll style of the narrator humourous at times. but the story went nowhere! What a collosal waste of time for the characters to meet the various ends. left me wanting more, but not from this author!
Wow.. I just couldn't stay with this book, which I felt rambled from character to character, scene to scene. It received such a good review on Audible's website that I gave it a try, but even Will Patton's superb performing skills didn't redeem it, in my opinion.
I enjoyed the book immensely for the most part. The Vietnam era war story was full of suspense, and was so well narrated by Will Paton that I was completely hooked to it. And then ... and then, the story turned to Malaysia ... and everything fell apart; because the author's ignorance and prejudice suddenly began to show all too conspicuously. Totally anticlimactic. In the whole, I was disappointed.
I've been tempted to write reviews of various audible books in the past, but never quite got around to it. This book pushed my limits and I find I needed to write this before finishing the book. I found the narrator somewhat irritating to listen to; the drone got to me. The content of the piece could probably have been shortened by about 7 hours. It was difficult to follow, particularly with the way the narrator moved from one part of the story to the next - it was as though there was not a break going from Arizona to Viet Nam to Minneapolis, it all flowed together. If I had ever taken acid, I would think to liken it to this book.
A nhilistic war book. How original. Save your money and read a Thin Red Line if that's what floats your boat. A waste of an otherwise good narrator,
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