In the Lake of the Woods
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In the Lake of the Woods

3.9 35
by Tim O'Brien
     
 

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First published to critical acclaim by Houghton Mifflin, Tim O’Brien’s celebrated classic In the Lake of the Woods now returns to the house in a gorgeous new Mariner paperback edition. 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

Overview

First published to critical acclaim by Houghton Mifflin, Tim O’Brien’s celebrated classic In the Lake of the Woods now returns to the house in a gorgeous new Mariner paperback edition. 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 U.S. 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.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
O'Brien ( Going After Cacciato ; The Things They Carried ) is trying desperately to escape from Vietnam--and failing. In this beautifully written, often haunting, but ultimately disappointing book, that conflict continues to drag at the life of John Wade, an upwardly mobile politician and senatorial candidate. The revelation that he was present at a Vietnamese village massacre (read My Lai) and had artfully buried that fact derails his political career overnight, and he flees with his much-loved wife, Kathy, to a remote hideaway in Minnesota's north woods. One morning he awakes, after a night of terrible visions, to find her gone. A huge search fails to locate her, and police suspicion turns on Wade. Then he too disappears. Ever a man who loved tricks and mystery, known to his Army buddies as Sorcerer, has Wade always lived a lie? Did he kill Kathy and put her body in the lake? Did they escape their problems together? O'Brien openly asks the reader such questions, in a series of rhetorical footnotes that amount to an uncomfortable authorial intrusion. An ongoing series of chapters with quotes from My Lai testimony, books on magic, General Custer, military violence and opinions of people in the book about what really happened with John and Kathy goes seriously astray. These faults distract from, but cannot completely offset, the power of O'Brien's narrative, his affinity for abnormal psychological states, his remarkable painting of the hostile autumn solitudes. It seems like a book that needed more work to live up to its best, and perhaps editor Seymour Lawrence's death last winter deprived it of that. If so, a stark pity; but O'Brien remains a terrific writer. 75,000 first printing; author tour. (Oct.)
Library Journal
O'Brien, winner of a National Book Award for Going After Cacciato (1978), has written his most accessible novel to date. John and Kathy Wade are a young, idealistic couple living the American Dream until John's bid for the U.S. Senate is trashed by media reports of his involvement in the infamous massacre at My Lai during the Vietnam War. Still very much in love but without direction for the first time in their marriage, John and Kathy flee to a remote cabin. When Kathy disappears without a trace, a massive but fruitless search ensues. Did John murder her or did she simply flee? O'Brien develops several maddeningly plausible explanations, allowing readers to draw their own conclusions in this dark but wonderful novel that should gain him a host of new fans. For fiction collections both large and small. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 6/15/94.]-Mark Annichiarico, "Library Journal"
New York Times Books of the Century
...[A] tale about the moral effects of suppressing a true story, about the abuse of history, about what happens to you when you pretend there is no history.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780618709861
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
09/01/2006
Edition description:
None
Pages:
336
Sales rank:
66,876
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.80(d)
Lexile:
HL730L (what's this?)
Age Range:
14 Years

Meet the Author

Tim O’Brien received the 1979 National Book Award for Going After Cacciato. Among his other books are The Things They Carried, Pulitzer Finalist and a New York Times Book of the Century, and In the Lake of the Woods, winner of the James Fenimore Cooper Prize. He was awarded the Pritzker Literature Award for lifetime achievement in military writing in 2013.

Brief Biography

Date of Birth:
October 1, 1946
Place of Birth:
Austin, Minnesota
Education:
B.A., Macalester College, 1968; Graduate study at Harvard University

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In the Lake of the Woods 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 35 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
An excellent book which contains many themes relevant to most everyone. It allows the reader the freedom to determine what happened so that there are endless possibilities. The haunting idea that single events follow us till the end is one that which sends chills up my spine. An incredible book which I will be reading again shortly.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I LOVE literature and every aspect of it. I, at first thought this book was a weak fact VS. Fiction story, but boy i was wrong! This novel was forced upon me for Eng 102 and i disliked it uptil the middle section. Very detailed, and the ending left it right where it should be. Are you a cynical person who thinks the worst of man, or a humanist who believes there is good in everyone. I truly believe Kath and John made a heaven of a hell and started over in the most oddly profound way. Just my take on it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Your moms execution was poor, this book is amazing
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samuelg More than 1 year ago
In the Lake of the Woods by Tim O'Brien was a well crafted tale [much like O'Briens other books] about a former Vietnam Veteran, who later turns into a politician who ran for governor. The loss of his wife in The Lake Of The Woods, damages him mentaly which then leads you to be sucked into his thoughts about the possible reasons for her leaving, and the events that might have occured which would result in her loss. Each character represents a part of O'Brien, and the loss of that part during the war. All of his books involve the Vietnam war which was a major part in O'briens life. In The Lake of the Woods is no exception and still remains in a very high standard.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I read an exerpt of one of O'Brian's works in English and became interested in reading Lake of the Woods. It's an interesting read, definitely, and does not follow the format of a conventional suspense mystery. The chapters alternate between 'evidence' and 'hypothesis.' The evidence chapters present actual pieces of evidence regarding the crime, and the hypothesis chapters are O'Brian's idea of what could have happened. For the first few chapters, I'll admit I only skimmed the evidence chapters, but as you proceed through the story, the evidence chapters are what makes the book. In the Lake of the Woods is an amazing blend of historical fiction and murder mystery. Granted, the disturbing stories regarding the My Lai massacre and the background on the main character's childhood are not what a reader expects from a suspense novel. However, O'Brian takes a fresh approach, delving deep into the pschye of a disturbed man, trying to make sense of his life experiences and most definitely succeeds in doing so.
Guest More than 1 year ago
My first reaction to the book 'In the Lake of the Woods' was that I didn't want to read but it was an assignment.So , I forced myself to read it than when i got to about the 3rd chapter 'The Nature of loss', I couldn't put it down, I took it with me everywhere I went.Well, expect the bathroom.LOL! At some parts I was offended and frustrated at what John said or did, but than I got over it because I wanted to get to the ending and know what happened to Kathy. It's a great book and I will read others. I do recommended this award winning book to others if they are into a true story about the abuse of history. And what happens to you when you pretend to much in real life.