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In the Lake of the Woods Paperback – September 1, 2006
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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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
It is no spoiler that the author does not solve the book's central mystery: the author tells you that if you want answers, "read another book." Readers can reach different conclusions as to the fate of Kathy Wade. Indeed, if my own experience is any guage, the same reader can reach a different conclusion on subsequent readings.
This book will mean different things to different people. For some, it is a mystery; for others, a dark love story; for others, it is a tale of Vietnam.
O'Brien's devices - the Evidence & Hypothesis chapters interspersed throughout the book - work fabulously. The Evidence chapters give a variety of outside perspectives which inform, or offer differing views, if not explanations, on the text, which jumps back & forth itself between the present & various points in the past. The Hypothesis chapters propose alternative answers to the central riddle.
O'Brien's clear prose is made more interesting, because the reader knows he is only getting one sliver, one part of the whole picture, and may be more or less "true".
If you have not read this book, do so. If you have, read it again: you will be amazed, entranced again -- & it may be a whole new experience for you.
In the Lake of the Woods could be considered both a mystery and a horror novel, but not for the usual reasons; the literary modes which make it an enigmatic, mind-boggling nightmare are its imagery and themes. This book tied my mind in magical knots which kalidescopically changed shape, leaving my brain fried and soul nourished.
Fan's of O'Brien won't be surprised to find that he is up to his old tricks. In the Lake of the Woods begins with a title which states that Tim O'Brien is the author. Immediately before the first chapter, there is a curious second title without O'Brien's name attached to it. By the commentary provided in footnotes, the reader soon learns that O'Brien wants to make it clear that someone else wrote this story in an attempt to figure out the mystery of John and Kathy Wade. This fact confounds an easy understanding of the novel; the narrator's position must be always be taken into account.
In the Lake of the Woods is O'Brien's portrayal of a historian or biographer's attempt at piecing together the mystery of the disappearance of Kathy Wade. Kathy's husband, John, recently lost a primary election to become Minnessota's Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate after his involvement in the My Lai Massacre in Vietnam was revealed to the public. In an attempt to relax and leave the limelight, the Wade's hole up in a cottage in a remote region of Minnesota lake country. One morning, after a temporary lapse of judgement and memory the night before, John Wade wakes to find his wife missing. It is here that the mystery begins.Read more ›
This is not a book for anyone seeking easy answers. I am often frustrated reading authors who present one dimensional characters who are entirely predictable and understandable. How many people are really like that? The most interesting people are enigmatic, and this book presents hypothesis rather than solutions. I would have felt let down by a stock dime store ending where the author tied up all the loose ends and left me nothing to reflect upon.
Tim O'Brien's message is that the questions he presents the reader are more important than any answer that he might propose. How well does one person truly know another? Why do our loved ones love us? Are we defined by our history, or may we transcend it?
Thank you, Tim O'Brien, for not attempting to answer these questions for me. Thank you also for giving me a framework to ponder them.
Though the book is touted mostly as a "Vietnam" book, it really focuses on the dark side of all of us and only uses the Vietnam card as a starting point for his own personal horrors. The book speaks just as well to anyone who has haunting skeletons in the closet from past adventures and experiences. Creepy. Absolutely compelling story.
Where most authors struggle to provide one or two good insights into human nature and the truth of life, O'brien pinpoints at least a dozen zingers. This was perhaps my favorite book of all time.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I got this book first assigned in my English class in college and I was getting the feel that the theme of the class was not going to be about dreams as listed in the catalogue,... Read morePublished 2 days ago by Renny
It's a book and wasn't for me...it filled the needs of my son who had to read for school. It's a book of as good a manufacturing process as any other.Published 1 month ago by Mark
This book is rather hard to understand; it jumps around from different times to often. There are many times where I will be reading and I have to stop and go back because I do not... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Lynn Meier
I didn't love it, but I'm not a fan of memoirs. If you do like them, you might like this.Published 2 months ago by stuart
"In the Lake of the Woods" may be well written in a technical sense, but I found it depressing to the point of disturbing. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Gerry
Now I am not much of a book reader. I was actually made to read this book. I sometimes just have trouble finding time to read between my busy life so it just ends up being a chore. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Tyler G
The main character is nuts. How else to explain the relentless churning and re-churning of early childhood, past behavior, past relationships, Vietnam insanity, early childhood,... Read morePublished 3 months ago by David W. Jones
Definitely a good read! Leaves you to draw your own conclusions... in a way it's almost not satisfying because you'll keep wondering where did Kathy go?Published 4 months ago by Blake