Tree of Smoke: A Novel

Front Cover
Macmillan, Sep 4, 2007 - Fiction - 614 pages
Once upon a time there was a war . . . and a young American who thought of himself as the Quiet American and the Ugly American, and who wished to be neither, who wanted instead to be the Wise American, or the Good American, but who eventually came to witness himself as the Real American and finally as simply the Fucking American. That’s me.

This is 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. This is also the story of the Houston brothers, Bill and James, young men who drift out of the Arizona desert into a war in which the line between disinformation and delusion has blurred away. In its vision of human folly, and its 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, this is a story like nothing in our literature.

Tree of Smoke is Denis Johnson’s first full-length novel in nine years, and his most gripping, beautiful, and powerful work to date.

Tree of Smoke is the 2007 National Book Award Winner for Fiction.
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Daniel.Estes - LibraryThing

I loved the writing and I felt right at home following the characters around in Denis Johnson's Vietnam War setting, but the story simply wasn't for me. Tree of Smoke gives me a Catch-22 vibe, a story ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - akissner - LibraryThing

I'm a Denis Johnson fan. I enjoyed a lot of this, but it just seemed to go on and on for no apparent reason at some points. The book was so all over the place that I found myself lost quite often in ... Read full review

Selected pages

Contents

Section 1
3
Section 2
12
Section 3
19
Section 4
35
Section 5
45
Section 6
75
Section 7
110
Section 8
111
Section 19
310
Section 20
348
Section 21
359
Section 22
371
Section 23
383
Section 24
445
Section 25
467
Section 26
472

Section 9
119
Section 10
138
Section 11
143
Section 12
165
Section 13
171
Section 14
176
Section 15
241
Section 16
269
Section 17
275
Section 18
288
Section 27
485
Section 28
501
Section 29
507
Section 30
513
Section 31
518
Section 32
535
Section 33
538
Section 34
541
Section 35
542
Copyright

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About the author (2007)

Denis Johnson is the author of five novels, a collection of poetry and one book of reportage. He is the recipient of a Lannan Fellowship and a Whiting Writer's Award, among many other honors for his work. He lives in northern Idaho.

Bibliographic information