In the Lake of the Woods

In the Lake of the Woods This Riveting Novel Of Love And Mystery From The Author Of The Things They Carried Examines The Lasting Impact Of The Twentieth Century S Legacy Of Violence And Warfare, Both At Home And Abroad When Long Hidden Secrets About The Atrocities He Committed In Vietnam Come To Light, A Candidate For The US Senate Retreats With His Wife To A Lakeside Cabin In Northern Minnesota Within Days Of Their Arrival, His Wife Mysteriously Vanishes Into The Watery Wilderness

Tim O Brien matriculated at Macalester College Graduation in 1968 found him with a BA in political science and a draft notice.O Brien was against the war but reported for service and was sent to Vietnam with what has been called the unlucky Americal division due to its involvement in the My Lai massacre in 1968, an event which figures prominently in In the Lake of the Woods He was

[KINDLE] ❅ In the Lake of the Woods Author Tim O'Brien –
  • Paperback
  • 303 pages
  • In the Lake of the Woods
  • Tim O'Brien
  • English
  • 06 November 2017
  • 9780618709861

10 thoughts on “In the Lake of the Woods

  1. says:

    Looks real black and white now very clear but back then everything came at you in bright colors No sharp edges Lots of glare A nightmare like that, all you want is to forget None of it ever seemed real in the first place.In The Lake of the Woods holds a special place in my memory I first read it about sixteen years ago in a stifling un air conditioned and over crowded classroom, and with all my 90s angst I was prime for it to get under my skin It was the first time that I realized there were books out there that weren t just about what they were about After Lake, I sought out different books and expected of them Looking back at my age, gender, and disposition, perhaps it should ve been Esther Greenwood who first spoke to me that certainly would ve been a comforting stereotype As it were, for better or for worse, it was John Wade At the funeral he wanted to kill everybody who was crying and everybody who wasn t He wanted to take a hammer and crawl into the casket and kill his father for dying..At school when the teachers told him how sorry they were that he d lost his father, he understood that lost was just another way of saying dead But still the idea kept turning in his mind He d picture his father stumbling down a dark alley, lost, not dead at all..He d bend down and pick up his father and put him in his pocket and be careful never to lose him again.This imagery early in the book sprung out at me when I first read it The class erupted into snickers, and I giggled along with them But later, I was left with the vivid picture of an awkward, hurting boy, rustling through blades of grass and scooping up his tiny father John Wade s desperate seeking stopped being an amusing image and started to become sad and lonely After that, all the books I read had to be a little sad and lonely What O Brien has created with Lake is a blurry, unfocused story to mimic the blurry, unfocused nature of things childhood, marriage, war, life The narrative skitters around dreamily everything is given in snippets and suggestions Everything in John Wade s life seems as though it s been filtered through a funhouse mirror Everything is a distortion His father was an abusive alcoholic who appeared to everyone else to be a wonderful guy His mother like his wife Kathy later on survives through denial and justification John performs magic tricks throughout his childhood, controlling and performing He goes to Vietnam where the events are covered up, half real, and like everything else, a contorted magic trick for the viewing public The war, like his father, like his childhood and pretty much everything, is arranged to appear to the world to be something different After the war, John goes into politics where yet again everything is choreographed to alter reality Everything is an illusion Everything we think we know is really just a product of the information we re given From our parents, to world events, to this stranger sleeping beside us year after year How much of what we know to be true actually is true John Wade spends his life manipulating and covering up Look around you he s not the only one Our own children, our fathers, our wives and husbands Do we truly know them How much is camouflage How much is guessed at How many lies get told, and when, and about what How often do we say, or think, God, I never knew her How often do we lie awake speculating seeking some hidden truth Oh, yes, it gnaws at me Denial is a powerful tool that can sustain people for decades John s denial, Kathy s, everybody s We tell ourselves it will get better, just hold on, things will work out What would our lives be like now if we had made just one different decision How much did we really mean to that one person who will never find the courage to tell us How much different would things be if we had just spoken up, taken a different job, moved to a different place and reinvented ourselves If our parents were just a little less tortured, a little stable If some men in suits had never signed away our life and innocence This is not a mystery novel We re not supposed to figure out what happened to Kathy, if in fact anything happened to her at all This is a book of questions, not answers And the questions you should be asking when you re done reading is not did he kill her That s just the magic trick At the minimum, you should be asking why we send the mentally ill to war Why we re so quick to condemn what we don t fully comprehend How reliable are our memories And, will we ever be free of our demons Mystery finally claims us.

  2. says:

    I loved this book the first time I read it, and I loved it having just finished it for the second time I could easily go back to the beginning and read it for a third time right now This book is not for the faint at heart, nor is it for people who have to have things tied up in bows It s a book that demonstrates the shattering of a psyche that was fragile to begin with It s a book about a man who doesn t know himself and thus seeks a definition of self through others and their reactions to him The vehicle that Tim O Brien uses is the Vietnam War, which he knows well from first hand experience Within that vehicle lies the horror of the My Lai massacre If the reader is a my country right or wrong sort of person, then this book is going to shatter a lot of illusions about war and country If the reader is someone who likes the exploration of relationships, psyches, souls and the forces that damage those areas of life, then this is the book I d give it six stars if I could I love it that much

  3. says:

    IN THE LAKE OF THE WOODS is one of the most original thrillers you will ever read 14 years later, I still think about how powerful this book was.

  4. says:

    John Wade, you ve just lost a big election and have been publicly shamed What are you going to do next I m going to Disney World a remote cabin by a lake where I can ruminate, lick my wounds, and possibly murder my wife Yep, when a lady vanishes, who s the number one suspect In this case, it just might be the husband Through flashbacks, we learn all about John, and the we know, the less we like him.In early November he began spying on her He felt some guilt at first, which bothered him, but he also found satisfaction in it.Then, there s this .He moved with determination across the surface of his life, attending to a marriage and a career He performed the necessary tricks, dreamed the necessary dreams On occasion though, he d yell in his sleep loud, desperate, obscene things and Kathy would reach out and ask what was wrong Her eyes would betray visible fear It wasn t even your voice, she d say It wasn t even you O Brien manages to work yet another very compelling Vietnam story into this one, but that plot line sadly takes a backseat to the main story I found it interesting that, though this book predates Gone Girl by almost two decades, there s that similar unsettling vibe of an unlikable man who has trouble working up a public display of grief over his missing wife it might help to start acting like a husband Some normal concern, it ll look real sweet to people Gillian, did you read this book before writing your mega seller Anyway, I found this to be quite a page turner, but was ultimately left unsatisfied.Then there was the problem of timing.A really creepy guy who loses an election, and may or may not have murdered his pretty blond wife Dun dun duhn Better run, Heidi

  5. says:

    This book has made me shudder at least six times Astoundingly good Tim O Brien has such a subtle mastery, it s almost frightening to read his work He introduces a seemingly innocuous line on page 10 that sticks out just enough to make you wonder what it s true relevance is, then when he finally reveals it, a hundred pages later, it s devastating As in The Things They Carried, O Brien tells a riveting story that reverses back on itself multiple times, and also directly addresses the dilemma of storytelling, and the blurred lines between fiction, non fiction, and truth How do you tell a true story How do you know what s true Why do we need to uncover secrets we can never truly know The story itself is not overly complicated a promising young politician named John Wade suffers a crushing defeat after a dark secret from his past in Vietnam is revealed Shortly afterwards, his wife disappears and Wade becomes a suspect We see the story in the present, curl back to see Wade s experiences in the war, which are as chilling as any I ve ever read, his relationship with his wife when it at first seemed to be innocent and loving, and see Wade s painful childhood where he first began to keep secrets from his loved ones and himself Alternating chapters also hypothesize how events may have played out, while others present pieces of evidence as decontextualized quotes, both from characters testifying about the events in the story, and passages from real world biographies of major political figures and other works on relevant non fiction In footnotes that appear mostly in Evidence chapters, the narrator becomes a character, trying as desperately as the reader to tease a thread of meaning and truth from the dark The narrator s identity remains as ambiguous as what really happened to the wife This further problematizes the fiction non fiction line, as the narrator seems to have much in common with the author, but the other characters are supposedly creations of his imagination This asks the question, how different is fiction from non fiction In both, the author and the reader struggle to find something true, something that is unknowable and unreachable.The latter half treads water for a time and over explains ideas that are already clear, but the ending pulls every idea together beautifully.

  6. says:

    Facts are simple and facts are straightFacts are lazy and facts are lateFacts all come with points of viewFacts don t do what I want them toFacts just twist the truth aroundFacts are living turned inside outI m still waitingI m still waitingI m still waiting Brian Eno and David ByrneTim O Brien is a magician and so in a lot of ways he s like Sorcerer, John Wade from In the Lake of the Woods, but instead of smoke and mirrors O Brien uses words to tell true stories that never happened And we believe those stories.Sure, all novelists tell stories that never happened, creating something out of nothing, but O Brien does something a little than just that, and this is why he is the best of our authors to come out of the Vietnam War and perhaps in fact the most important war writer of all time O Brien s take on the relationship between war and truth often called a casualty of war and what did or didn t happen and whether it really matters in the first place and how something can be true and never have happened at all are all particularly well suited for the mess of Vietnam and for all war stories in general.In Going after Cacciato O Brien writes an entire novel stretching from Vietnam to Paris and back again that never happened When I first read Cacciato, I had a hard time coming to grips with the concept I think I might have felt gypped, as if reading those 350 pages had been a massive waste of my time, and this probably accounts for my lower rating of the book here in GoodReads I don t think I understood what O Brien was doing back then and was likely yearning for something closer to the facts of the Vietnam War Near the end of Cacciato, O Brien writes, Facts, Doc Peret liked to say Face facts And in response, PFC Paul Berlin thinks, The facts were not disputed Facts did not bother him Billy Boy had died of fright Buff was dead Frenchie was dead Pederson was dead Sydney Martin and Bernie Lynn had died in tunnels Those were all facts, and he could face them squarely The order of facts which facts came first and which came last, the relations among facts here he had trouble, but it was not the trouble of facing facts It was the trouble of understanding them, keeping them straight I didn t get it then but now, as I flip through Cacciato again, I see O Brien s magic at work.It took a while, but twenty five years after Cacciato, I started to get it when I read The Things They Carried In this book O Brien begins telling a story, draws the reader in, and then pulls the figurative rug out from under his reader s feet by stopping the story and reminding him that he s reading a work of fiction, that the story he is so eagerly involved in never really happened Then the narrator starts again, purporting to tell what did really happen, and again the man behind the curtain pops out to remind the reader that this story didn t really happen either Here in Things, O Brien introduces us to the idea of the true war story and again it s pure magic You can tell a true war story by the questions you ask Somebody tells a story, let s say, and afterward you ask, Is it true and if the answer matters, you ve got your answer.For example, we ve all heard this one Four guys go down a trail A grenade sails out One guy jumps on it and takes the blast and saves his three buddies.Is it true The answer matters.You d feel cheated if it never happened Without the grounding reality, it s just a trite bit of puffery, pure Hollywood, untrue in the way all such stories are untrue Yet even if it did happen and maybe it did, anything s possible even then you know it can t be true, because a true war story does not depend upon that kind of truth Absolute occurrence is irrelevant A thing may happen and be a total lie another thing may not happen and be truer than the truth For example Four guys go down a trail A grenade sails out One guy jumps on it and takes the blast, but it s a killer grenade and everybody dies anyway Before they die, though, one of the dead guys says, The fuck you do that for and the jumper says, Story of my life, man, and the other guy starts to smile but he s dead.That s a true story that never happened In the Lake of the Woods is full of true stories that never happened For me, Lake just isn t as good as The Things They Carried, but it s still a great book that continues to look at these curiosities of facts and evidence and truth, all against the backdrop of a mystery of sorts involving the missing wife of a Minnesota politician with a penchant for making things disappear John Wade, Sorcerer back in Vietnam, had been at My Lai but after making an entire village disappear he went on to make his whole experience there disappear until someone outs him during a primary race for the Senate In the week after losing the primary in a landslide, Wade and his wife spend a week at Lake in the Woods, where she goes missing It s almost like O Brien is trying to write a post modernist thriller, a who dunnit without a solution or maybe with three or four or five solutions and O Brien gives you all of them Which one really happened My younger self would most likely have felt gypped again, but just in case such a callow reader may respond in such a way there s the intrusive narrator again, this time popping in early on page 30 in a footnote I have tried, of course, to be faithful to the evidence Yet evidence is not truth It is only evident In any case, Kathy Wade is forever missing, and if you require solutions, you will have to look beyond these pages Or read a different book So you ve been warned.Back to The Things They Carried Now and then, when I tell this story about soldier Rat Kiley torturing and killing a baby water buffalo in Vietnam , someone will come up to me afterward and say she liked it It s always a woman Usually it s an older woman of kindly temperament and humane politics She ll explain that as a rule she hates war stories she can t understand why people want to wallow in all the blood and gore But this one she liked The poor baby buffalo, it made her sad Sometimes, even, there are little tears What I should do, she ll say, is put it all behind me Find new stories to tell.I won t say it but I ll think it.I ll picture Rat Kiley s face, his grief, and I ll think, You dumb cooze.Because she wasn t listening.It wasn t a war story It was a love story.But you can t say that All you can do is tell it one time, patiently, adding and subtracting, making up a few things to get at the real truth No Mitchell Sanders, you tell her No Curt Lemon, no Rat Kiley No baby buffalo No trail junction No baby buffalo It s all made up Beginning to end Every goddamn detail the mountains and the river and especially that poor dumb baby buffalo None of it happened None of it And even if it did happen, it didn t happen in the mountains, it happened in this little village on the Batangan Peninsula, and it was raining like crazy, and one night a guy named Stink Harris woke up screaming with a leech on his tongue You can tell a true war story if you just keep on telling it And in the end, of course, a true war story is never about war It s about sunlight It s about the special way that dawn spreads out on a river when you know you must cross that river and march into the mountains and do things you are afraid to do It s about love and memory It s about sorrow And those are exactly the three things that In the Lake of the Woods is about, love, memory and sorrow O Brien s war stories are always love stories After you are given the evidence, the nature of things, and the various hypotheses, all that s left in Lake of the Woods is supposition and perhaps a happy ending, one that might remind you of Cacciato, if you substitute Verona this time for Paris O Brien writes, If all is supposition, if ending is air, then why not happiness Are we so cynical, so sophisticated as to write off even the chance of happy endings Maybe so, maybe happiness does strain credibility and the reader is likely to lean toward the boiling, the scalded flesh and the body weighted down in the lake than to accept a disappearing act that ends happily ever after, but O Brien isn t giving any answers here In his final footnote, the man behind the curtain says, One way or another, it seems, we all perform vanishing tricks, effacing history, locking up our lives and slipping day by day into the graying shadows Our whereabouts are uncertain All secrets lead to the dark, and beyond the dark there is only maybe That maybe takes us back to the final sentence of Cacciato, and again leaves us still waiting.When I was a kid the awful images of that ditch filled with bodies in My Lai were everywhere I still can see those pictures in my mind, but today you probably couldn t get a classroom of AP U.S History students to tell you what My Lai was That s a disappearing act as well, one that rivals anything Sorcerer could do it s the effacing history that O Brien mentions at the end of Lake, some of it intentional and some of it merely the result of the passing of time But we live in a post Vietnam society where the president can create a fictitious war out of nothing, one that killed thousands of U.S troops and tens of thousands of noncombatants, one where journalists are embedded into the invading forces and yet no images of the carnage were ever shared with the U.S public We live in a time when even the images of flag draped coffins of our returning dead were disappeared by powerful magicians and now that this war is over long after it was declared mission accomplished by the magician in chief it s almost as though it never even happened Could the truth be so simple O Brien asks in his final sentence, So terrible

  7. says:

    This is a deceptively angry book It may look normal and unassuming on the outside, even boring, but on the inside, it s a slow building, roiling, burning rage, the kind that sucks you in and makes you burn along with it And I could not stop reading or even look away Finished it in 36 hours All I did this weekend was read this book and let it burn.Beautifully written, bitterly frustrating, angry and wholly unexpected.Looks real black and white now very clear but back then everything came at you in bright colors No sharp edges Lots of glare A nightmare like that, all you want is to forget None of it ever seemed real in the first place Would it help to announce the problem early on To plead for understanding To argue that solutions only demean the grandeur of human ignorance To point out that absolute knowledge is absolute closure To issue a reminder that death itself dissolves into uncertainty, and that out of such uncertainty arise great temples and tales of salvation I have tried, of course, to be faithful to the evidence Yet evidence is not truth It is only evident The afternoon had passed to a ghostly gray She was struck by the immensity of things, so much water and sky and forest, and after a time it occurred to her that she d lived a life almost entirely indoors Her memories were indoor memories, fixed by ceilings and plastered white walls Her whole life had been locked to geometries suburban rectangles, city squares First the house she d grown up in, then dorms and apartments The open air had been nothing but a medium of transit, a place for rooms to exist.The theme you can t ever go home again prevails infuriatingly throughout the writing, cementing the fact that, here in this story, you really can t go home again.Normally I hate fiction that leaves the reader without closure or an ending Why read books that imitate real life when there s already too much real life in your own life That has always been my reason for staying away from contemporary fiction But it s different with this book and its open ending and lack of closure and lack of subtlety, all because it s Tim O Brien better known for his memoir of his experience in the Vietnam War, The Things They Carried There s a sharpness to his writing that has always spoken to me It s almost as though I get him and what he s saying No one writes about memory and pain like Tim O Brien, and no one writes about being lost in the wilderness of post traumatic stress quite like he does.My heart tells me to stop right here, to offer quiet benediction and call it the end But the truth won t allow it Because there is no end, happy or otherwise Nothing is fixed, nothing solved The facts, such as they are, finally spin off into the void of things missing, the inconclusiveness of us Who are we Where do we go The ambiguity may be dissatisfying, even irritating, but this is a love story There is no tidiness Blame it on the human heart One way or another, it seems, we all perform vanishing tricks, effacing history, locking up our lives and slipping day by day into the graying shadows Our whereabouts are uncertain All secrets lead to the dark, and beyond the dark there is only maybe.This book found me at the right time and in the right state of mind to appreciate its infuriating complexity In a different mood, at a different time, and I would have no doubt stopped reading somewhere about page 20 But there was something about this past weekend that made this book call out to me Every word, every line, made sense in a way that contemporary fiction rarely does for me Maybe it s Tim O Brien Or maybe it s simpler than that, maybe I just wanted to get lost in the woods or a lake preferably one that s accessible only by helicopter.Cross posted at

  8. says:

    First of all, this book made me realize how much I generally like most books that I read Because this was a screaming exception.This is the basic summary of the story 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 Minnesota s Democratic candidate for the U.S Senate after his involvement in the My Lai Massacre in Vietnam was revealed to the public.I hated the structure of the book It was divided into the story, pages of weird evidence quotes from other trials, from literature, from interviews of the missing woman s case , and hypothetical imaginings of where the woman was I didn t care if they found her I didn t care what happened to John, either.I hated John the main character I didn t care for his wife Kathy the missing woman I hated the story itself, I didn t care about anything that was happening to them I just felt revulsion in how they portrayed John s obsession with his wife throughout college he totally grossed me out HATE People on s reviews mostly loved it But I really appreciated this particular negative review, because it totally got how I felt about it This novel does not have enough thematic substance or emotional resonance to carry our interest The symbolism is heavy handed and the protagonist lacks sympathy His parents are caricatures, as are the other supporting characters Kathy, the missing wife, is not developed as a character enough nor is their marriage compelling enough to induce our interest in their fate as a couple or as individuals So glad it s OVER Never have to read that one again.

  9. says:

    Whoever undertakes to write a biography binds himself to lying, to concealment, to flummery Truth is not accessible Sigmund Freud, as cited by Alfred Kazin, The Self as History Reflections on Autobiography.5 stars for sure Gripping, amazing read Not a fun read though Parts are too intense to be fun.O Brien the consummate unreliable third person narrator here And he s at his most unreliable when it looks like he s being most reliable Footnotes here, there, everywhere Many of the footnotes reference books which are most certainly real Many references to books about atrocities, one atrocity in particular The Court Martial of William Calley for example Four Hours in My Lai for example Report of the Department of the Army, Review of the Preliminary Investigations into the My Lai Incident for example Many also reference personal interviews which the narrator conducted Really Writing of My Lai Sorcerer uttered meaningless sounds No , he said, then after a second he said, Please and then the sunlight sucked him down a trail toward the center of the village, where he found burning hootches and brightly mobile figures engaged in murder Simpson was killing children PFC Weatherby was killing whatever he could kill A row of corpses lay in the pink to purple sunshine along the trail teenagers and old women and two babies and a young boy Most were dead, some where almost dead The dead lay very still The almost dead did twitching things until PFC Weatherby had occasion to reload and make them fully dead The noise was fierce No one was dying quietly There were squeakings and chickenhouse sounds Meadlo and the lieutenant were spraying gunfire into a crowd of villagers They stood side by side, taking turns Meadlo was crying The air was hot and wet He ran past a smoking bamboo schoolhouse Behind him and in front of him, a brisk machine gun wind pressed through Thuan Yen The wind stirred up a powdery red dust that sparkled in the morning sunshine, and the little village had now gone mostly violet Hutto was shooting corpses T Souvas was shooting children Doherty and Terry were finishing off the wounded This was not madness, Sorcerer understood This was sin He felt it winding through his own arteries, something vile and slippery like heavy black oil in a crankcase A period of dark time went by, maybe an hour, maybe There were flies now a low droning buzz that swelled up from somewhere deep inside the village and on it went.Some of the notes are extended first person ruminations, almost confessional in nature, about the author s experiences in Vietnam, his memories many years later, of those experiences, his fading memories, things he thinks he remembers, but isn t sure that he does.The protagonists Well, the novel is a romance, a love story As near as the narrator can figure out John and Kathy Wade Madly in love, but somehow acting a little bit funny, are they really in love The narrator speculates, delves into their thoughts, their own memories Here he is, paradoxically, perhaps being the most reliable Remember this author s insistence in The Things They Carried that the most true war stories are ones which never happened Kind of the same thing here Did the things remembered, or maybe remembered, happen Does is matter What are we being told about the human psyche, human memory, human love, human emotion, human fright, the attempt to forget, to hide from oneself things which may have been done, which seem to be remembered but which maybe never happened, at least in the way remembered.One very reliable topic narrated here, as it winds its way increasingly into the story, is that of the Lake of the Woods Max length 68 mi 109 km Max width 59 mi 95 km Surface area 1,679 sq mi 4,348.6 km2 Max depth 210 ft 64 m Shore length excluding islands 25,000 mi 40,000 km including islands 65,000 mi 105,000 km number of islands 14,500Lying in the north country of Minnesota, and partially in two Canadian provinces, the Lake of the Woods is described in O Brien s inimitable prose, as here someone is steering a boat through this wilderness, beginning to realize that they have missed a known channel and are now somewhere in the lake that they have never been and the wilderness, the trees, the dense forests on the islands, the water, the sun, the clouds nothing shows any sign of being different, any likelihood of being a landmark, there are no signs, no cabins, no other boats, nothing paraphrase He brought the boat around and followed the shoreline in a generally westward direction, looking for a channel south The afternoon had passed to a ghostly gray He was struck by the immensity of things, so much water and sky and forest for a long time he followed the curving shoreline, moving at low throttle, watching the sun sink toward the trees straight ahead The wind was colder He passed between a pair of tiny islands, veered north to skirt a spit of rocks and sand, then aimed the boat into a wide stretch of choppy water After than an hour nothing much had changed The purest wilderness, everything tangled up with everything else A little island seemed to float before him in the purply twilight, partly masked by a stand of reeds and cattails Not an easy read Yet couldn t put it down Burned my fingers I think Previous review Varieties of Disturbance Lydia DavisNext review The Open Boat and Other Stories Stephan CraneMore recent Older review ___Previous library review The Things They CarriedNext library review A Firing Offense G Pelecanos

  10. says:

    In the Lake of the Woods by Tim O Brien is a book of historical fiction It accurately portrays the slaughter of Vietnamese villagers by American soldiers on March 16, 1968 in Thuan Yen, South Vietnam Reading of the events is grisly Those who lived through that day and survived would be forever traumatized.The central protagonist of the fictional story was there that day His name is John Ward The story is about him and his wife Kathy John goes into politics in an effort to wipe clean that which stains his past When he runs for the U.S senate, his past is revealed Some accuse him of atrocities committed in Vietnam After losing his bid for senator, he and his wife retreat to the woods of northern Minnesota Then his wife disappears This is the fictional part of the story, but that which it says about living after having survived that day in March is by no means fiction We are given a mystery that is to be solved What has happened to Kathy Murder If murder, then by whom and how Suicide Does this make sense Do the known facts corroborate this The book presents facts in a manner that keeps the reader guessing This frustrated me The story flips back and forth not only in time but also between chapters of different content, purpose and type This is terribly confusing at the start There are chapters entitled hypothesis Others entitled evidence These chapters relate to a crime having been committed, but in fact we still do not know if a crime does lie at the bottom pf Kathy s disappearance The hypothesis and evidence chapters are intermixed with chapters about events in John s and Kathy s lives The chapters about their lives are not presented in chronological order In the initial evidence chapters , we are given quotes stating what characters say, but we do not yet know who these characters are or what has happened Quotes from books and well known people are thrown in too Information is not presented clearly Information of value is difficult to appreciate because of the lack of context Other information is withheld from the reader to enhance suspense I do not like being toyed with in this fashion How the story is put together is not to my liking Information is repeated Also, that which is most often repeated are those elements of the story which are the most grisly and disturbing We are meant to be upset, shocked and repulsed We are, and in spades Kathy is a woman I could not relate to at all I thought I understood her at the tart, but my first impression fizzled The I was told about her, the less I understood her.I have given the book two stars rather than one because I do appreciate what the author is saying about the Vietnam War and those who fought in the war, about what is says about politicians and the destructive repercussions of keeping secrets in a relationship I have nothing against the messages conveyed by the novel, but I do not like how the author chose to convey these messages I have nothing against the story s open ended conclusion We are in fact forewarned that the conclusion will be open ended The audiobook is narrated by L J Ganser I have no complaints whatsoever with his performance The performance is very good, so I have given it four stars It is clear and easy to follow.I do not like how this story is told That the events of March 16, 1968 in Thuan Yen, South Vietnam, are brought to the fore is good The Things They Carried 3 stars In the Lake of the Woods 2 stars Going After Cacciato TBR

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