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Tree of Smoke Audiobook

Tree of Smoke: A Novel

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Publisher's Summary

National Book Award, Fiction, 2007

This 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

What the Critics Say

  • Audie Award Winner, Literary Fiction, 2008

"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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.4 (523 )
5 star
 (147)
4 star
 (123)
3 star
 (116)
2 star
 (70)
1 star
 (67)
Overall
3.6 (248 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
 (54)
2 star
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1 star
 (24)
Story
4.1 (243 )
5 star
 (125)
4 star
 (57)
3 star
 (33)
2 star
 (15)
1 star
 (13)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Dennis McManaman 05-13-10 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
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    Overall
    "A waste of credit and time as well as talent"

    The only positive thing I found about this "work" was the wonderful narration.

    From someone familiar with many things from that time period it is obvious that the so called writer was on some magical mushrooms or something when he tried to write this story.
    There was no due diligence for research done in preparing for this book.
    The web was not woven connecting anything or anyone.
    DO NOT WASTE YOUR MONEY OR TIME.
    This was the most diasappointing work I have tried here in dozens and dozens of books over a period of years.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dan D. 05-22-08
    Dan D. 05-22-08 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
    ratings
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    54
    9
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    FOLLOWING
    0
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    Overall
    "Too depressing"

    The author seems to have taken some of the drugs that his characters took. Although this is interesting from a historical perspective, the narrative is disjointed and too hard to follow.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paul Harris NORTH POLE, ALASKA, United States 01-27-08
    Paul Harris NORTH POLE, ALASKA, United States 01-27-08 Member Since 2001
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
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    8
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    Overall
    "The insanity of Don Quixote without the style"

    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.

    3 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Daniel Ann Arbor, MI, USA 10-31-07
    Daniel Ann Arbor, MI, USA 10-31-07
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
    ratings
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    4
    1
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    Overall
    "The Horror!"

    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.

    7 of 14 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Saikungbob 10-11-07
    Saikungbob 10-11-07

    saikungbob

    HELPFUL VOTES
    93
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    70
    24
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    Overall
    "a quagmire"

    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.


    6 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Larry Benjamin Oakland, CA USA 10-12-07
    Larry Benjamin Oakland, CA USA 10-12-07 Member Since 2017
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
    ratings
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    4
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    "An Excellent Book"

    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.

    4 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nat Oakville, Ontario, Canada 06-18-08
    Nat Oakville, Ontario, Canada 06-18-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    6
    1
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    0
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    Overall
    "waste of time"

    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!

    2 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Janie Bellevue, WA, United States 06-26-08
    Janie Bellevue, WA, United States 06-26-08 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
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    3
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    Overall
    "Tree of Smoke"

    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.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Val 10-23-07
    Val 10-23-07 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    50
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    300
    17
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    1
    1
    Overall
    "Yawn"

    I'm surprise that Will Patton didn't read himself to sleep with this one!

    4 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elanjelian Kuala LumpurMalaysia 01-02-10
    Elanjelian Kuala LumpurMalaysia 01-02-10 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    47
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    82
    10
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    3
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    Overall
    "Overrated"

    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.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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