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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.
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)
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By ed spilka on 12-13-07
tree of smoke
i rarely make comments but feel compelled to do so here. i was first made aware of this book in the new york times. the review was the most favorable that i can ever remember reading. i then saw the one star reviews here and very nearly didn't order the book. that would have been a huge mistake. i don't expect to ever see tom cruise starring in the movie version of this book and if you are drawn to books that are paced in that way, you will likely be disappointed. however, if beauty of language, compelling imagery, and depth of character appeal to you, allow yourself to be immersed in the depth of this incredible tale.
24 of 24 people found this review helpful
By Anthony on 05-18-10
No Redemption Possible
Moves one irrevocably into the degradation of war. Particularly this war, Viet Nam. A difficult book to get over. Perhaps I'm damaged now...certainly not the same. Grateful to Denis Johnson.
11 of 11 people found this review helpful
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By 72trails of smoke on 12-15-14
great Vietnam novel
I had to jump in having seen the other reviews here. The novel is not disjointed, it is deliberately non-linear and I had no trouble following it. Also I find the narrator, Will Patton to be one of my favourite narrators having discovered this book through his work on various James Lee Burke novels and find his work uniformly excellent
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
By David on 12-22-08
I agree with Tony - this book is dreadful; how on earth it got the reviews it did god knows. I stuck through it right to the bitter end and wasted several hours of my life. The story is totally disjointed - very poor indeed. The reader seems to think he's Marlon Brando and reads in a mafia style whisper which adds atmosphere - when nothing much is happening. Even if the story had been shortened to about one third it would still be a waste of time. The last time I listen to an audible book when I go by the reviews.
3 of 4 people found this review helpful