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In the Lake of the Woods
Tim O'Brien
Adult Fiction O'BRIEN

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From Publishers' Weekly:

O'Brien ( Going After Cacciato ; The Things They Carried ) is trying desperately to escape from Vietnam--and failing. In this beautifully written, often haunting, but ultimately disappointing book, that conflict continues to drag at the life of John Wade, an upwardly mobile politician and senatorial candidate. The revelation that he was present at a Vietnamese village massacre (read My Lai) and had artfully buried that fact derails his political career overnight, and he flees with his much-loved wife, Kathy, to a remote hideaway in Minnesota's north woods. One morning he awakes, after a night of terrible visions, to find her gone. A huge search fails to locate her, and police suspicion turns on Wade. Then he too disappears. Ever a man who loved tricks and mystery, known to his Army buddies as Sorcerer, has Wade always lived a lie? Did he kill Kathy and put her body in the lake? Did they escape their problems together? O'Brien openly asks the reader such questions, in a series of rhetorical footnotes that amount to an uncomfortable authorial intrusion. An ongoing series of chapters with quotes from My Lai testimony, books on magic, General Custer, military violence and opinions of people in the book about what really happened with John and Kathy goes seriously astray. These faults distract from, but cannot completely offset, the power of O'Brien's narrative, his affinity for abnormal psychological states, his remarkable painting of the hostile autumn solitudes. It seems like a book that needed more work to live up to its best, and perhaps editor Seymour Lawrence's death last winter deprived it of that. If so, a stark pity; but O'Brien remains a terrific writer. 75,000 first printing; author tour. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

O'Brien, winner of a National Book Award for Going After Cacciato (1978), has written his most accessible novel to date. John and Kathy Wade are a young, idealistic couple living the American Dream until John's bid for the U.S. Senate is trashed by media reports of his involvement in the infamous massacre at My Lai during the Vietnam War. Still very much in love but without direction for the first time in their marriage, John and Kathy flee to a remote cabin. When Kathy disappears without a trace, a massive but fruitless search ensues. Did John murder her or did she simply flee? O'Brien develops several maddeningly plausible explanations, allowing readers to draw their own conclusions in this dark but wonderful novel that should gain him a host of new fans. For fiction collections both large and small. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 6/15/94.]-Mark Annichiarico, "Library Journal" (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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main characters John Wade
Age: 41
Vietnam veteran

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