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Tree of smoke
Denis Johnson
Adult Fiction JOHNSON

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Patton is a fine character actor. His performances in A Mighty Heart and Inventing the Abbotts made a notable presence in otherwise unremarkable roles. His reading of Johnson's baroque Vietnam novel, though, will probably not feature highly in future editions of his resume. Johnson's tale of shadowy soldiers and spooks irrevocably changed by the unending war in Southeast Asia is rendered by Patton in a drill sergeant's muscular whisper, complete with carefully rendered impressions of characters-American, Filipino and Vietnamese-some of which verge on parody. The effort and thought put into his reading is clear, but the results are underwhelming, bordering on unpleasant. Twenty-three hours of so mannered a performance begins to grate on the nerves, distracting from Johnson's otherwise engrossing novel. Simultaneous release with the FSG hardcover (Reviews, June 28). (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

One of the 2007 National Book Award fiction nominees (winners were announced November 14) is Denis Johnson for Tree of Smoke (Farrar. 2007. ISBN 978-0-374-27912-7. $27). Tracing the years from 1963 until 1970 and following the progress of a mix of characters, Johnson grapples with the Vietnam War. Col. Francis Sands, a legendary World War II figure, is now in Southeast Asia setting up an operation. His nephew Skip Sands is drawn into the heart of the op and into a moral morass. Providing the pivot point is Kathy, a Canadian nurse. Floating on the edges of the story and often stepping into the fray are a host of other unforgettable individuals. Johnson, who is also a poet, manages both the narrative threads and the history with a deft hand, creating a new way to read about the war. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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main characters Skip Sands
CIA recruit working for his uncle; spy-in-training; lives under an alias; in love with Kathy.

Francis X. Sands
War veteran
Skip's uncle; known as the Colonel; war hero; drinks whiskey.
CIA agent

Kathy Jones

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