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In the Lake of the Woods by Tim O'Brien
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In the Lake of the Woods (1994)

by Tim O'Brien

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2,286664,267 (3.81)107
  1. 10
    Dispatches by Michael Herr (hazzabamboo)
    hazzabamboo: Dispatches was the central source for the film Apocalypse Now. It's non-fiction, but it conveys the hallucinatory horror of the Vietnam War in the same way as O'Brien's novel.
  2. 00
    Reading in the Dark by Seamus Deane (Ciruelo)
    Ciruelo: Both novels are told in fragments, setting is critical to the tone of each, and finally both deal with the themes of love, guilt, memory, truth, and murder.
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Een heftig boek, vooral vanwege de stukken over Vietnam. Qua stijl en opzet erg goed maar ik vond het af en toe te gewelddadig. En veel hypotheses, geen duidelijke uitkomst, ruimte voor twijfel. Dat is niet perse negatief. ( )
  elsmvst | Jul 28, 2019 |
John Wade, running for the U.S. senate, receives a crushing defeat when a dark secret he has kept hidden for nearly twenty years, suddenly sees the light. Wade and his wife flee to the deep woods of northern Minnesota, to escape the public eye and try to repair and renew their lives. Shortly after arriving, his wife mysteriously disappears from their lakeside cabin.
This is a dark and disturbing tale, especially when the reader discovers, that Wade's secret, was that he was a young soldier, involved in the My Lai massacre, told in a series of horrifying flashbacks.
The story becomes a tangle of mystery, illusion and secrets, with the Lake of the Woods being a perfect backdrop, for these deceptive and destructive themes. O'Brien is a fine writer, who also seems to be wrestling with his own demons of war. ( )
  msf59 | Sep 29, 2017 |
Pulls off a remarkably unified mystery, pollitical narrative, solitude story, and war recollection. Marriage issues are presented alongside war atrocities from Vietnam and native American conflicts to great dramatic effect. Feels specifically Minnesotan in both setting and character personalities. What ambiguity there is at the end is not the frustrating sort, because every possibility is implied or speculated on in the narrative ( )
  albertgoldfain | Jul 17, 2017 |
So very well written that you begin to accept that these events, or perhaps something very similar, have probably happened a time or two. Everyone has hidden places buried deep and Tim O'Brien explores those places inside John Wade in this terrific mystery. Two things I really liked. First, how the Lake of the Woods metaphorically sums up those hidden places. Second, how the phrase "one plus one equals zero" so perfectly describes the whole book. I loved it. ( )
  5hrdrive | Jun 2, 2017 |
The protaganist of this book had an unhappy childhood and developed techniques to distance himself from what was happening. These practices served him well when he served a tour in Viet Nam, and enabled him to store that experience away when he got home. When her returns from the war he marries his college girlfriend, and enters State politics where he has a series of successes. The novel centers on what happens when reality intrudes on his self made world. I don't want to include any spoilers, and knowing what sets off the events in the novel isn't as important as what happens afterwards. It is a well written book with an interesting structure. It focuses on the protaganist coming to terms with himself and with his wife, who had knowingly gone along with his act of self creation without really understanding who her husband really was. ( )
  Eye_Gee | May 8, 2017 |
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With thanks to John Sterling, Larry Cooper, Michael Curtis, Les Ramirez, Carol Anhalt, Lori Galzer, Lynn Nesbit, and my loving familoy. Sam Lawrence, who died in January 1994, was my publisher, advocate, and friend for more than two decades. I will always happily recall his faith in me.
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In September, after the primary, they rented an old yellow cottage in the timber at the edge of Lake of the Woods.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 061870986X, Paperback)

Tim O'Brien has been writing about Vietnam in one way or another ever since he served there as an infantryman in the late 1960s. His earliest work on the subject, If I Die in a Combat Zone, was an intensely personal memoir of his own tour of duty; his books since then have featured many of the same elements of fear, boredom, and moral ambiguity but in a fictional setting. In 1994 O'Brien wrote In the Lake of the Woods, a novel that, while imbued with the troubled spirit of Vietnam, takes place entirely after the war and in the United States. The main character, John Wade, is a man in crisis: after spending years building a successful political career, he finds his future derailed during a bid for the U.S. Senate by revelations about his past as a soldier in Vietnam. The election lost by a landslide, John and his wife, Kathy, retreat to a small cabin on the shores of a Minnesota lake--from which Kathy mysteriously disappears.

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. In the Lake of the Woods may not be true, but it feels true--and for Tim O'Brien, that's true enough. --Alix Wilber

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:01:07 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

After John and Kathy realize that their marriage has been built on deception, Kathy mysteriously disappears in the Minnesota north woods.

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