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Amazon Significant Seven, September 2007: Denis Johnson is one of those few great hopes of American writing, fully capable of pulling out a ground-changing masterpiece, as he did in 1992 with the now-legendary collection, Jesus' Son. Tree of Smoke showed every sign of being his "big book": 600+ pages, years in the making, with a grand subject (the Vietnam War). And in the reading it lives up to every promise. It's crowded with the desperate people, always short of salvation, who are Johnson's specialty, but despite every temptation of the Vietnam dreamscape it is relentlessly sober in its attention to on-the-ground details and the gradations of psychology. Not one of its 614 pages lacks a sentence or an observation that could set you back on your heels. This is the book Johnson fans have been waiting for--along with everybody else, whether they knew it or not. --Tom Nissley --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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 résumé. 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.
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This is the finest book about the Vietnam era that I have ever read. Johnson is a brilliant writer and his characters are complex reflections of the American psyche let loose on... Read morePublished 1 month ago by D. Witscher
This book is not for a casual reader: it's long and convoluted and at times confusing due to a very sprawling plot. But it is astoundingly well written and intriguing. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Julia Eicher
TREE OF SMOKE, by Denis Johnson.
Wow! Double wow even. Whatever I say about Johnson's book couldn't begin to describe what a magnificent accomplishment it is. Read more
Although I did not care for this novel when I first read it a few years ago. I just reread it( actually I listened to it on audibook this time!) and loved it! Read morePublished 4 months ago by trevor
This book really smoked my fire, literally, and Tree Of Smoke became my campfire. That is the ONLY warmth I received from the book after slogging through 50 or so pages of... Read morePublished 4 months ago by S. D. Kent
In some ways, this book doesn't break much new ground -- there are a lot of terrific books out there about the moral depravity of the Vietnam war. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Adam B
Stayed with this book,although long and many times confusing. Decided maybe my intelligence wasn't up to it. Read morePublished 5 months ago by barbara schettler