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In the Lake of the Woods

O'Brien, Tim

Published by Houghton Mifflin, Wilmington, Massachusetts, U.S.A., 1994
ISBN 10: 0395488893 / ISBN 13: 9780395488898
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Bibliographic Details


Title: In the Lake of the Woods

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin, Wilmington, Massachusetts, U.S.A.

Publication Date: 1994

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition: Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Fine

Edition: First Edition.

Description:

0395488893 This hardcover book is square and tight. The boards, endpages, spine, and gilt/lettering are all pristine. The pages are clean, having no markings or folds. The dustjacket is bright, in As New condition. Original price intact. Brodart protected. No remainder mark. Not ex-lib. Bookseller Inventory # 000486

About this title:

Book ratings provided by GoodReads:
3.77 avg rating
(11,581 ratings)

Synopsis: John and Kathy Wade, whose marriage has been built on mutual deception, visit a Minnesota lake to try to sort things out, a difficult process made more difficult by Kathy's sudden disappearance. Major ad/promo. BOMC. First serials, Atlantic Monthly & Esquire. Tour.

Review: 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

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