Tree of Smoke


Tree of Smoke Matthew G.
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Product Description

Winner of the National Book Award. The story of William 'Skip' Sands, CIA - engaged in Psychological Operations against the Vietcong - and the disasters that befall him. This prize-winning novel is also the story of the Houston brothers, Bill and James, young men who drift out of the Arizona desert and into a war where the line between disinformation and delusion has blurred away. An immense sojourn of a novel - brutal, visceral, yet poetic; an existential tour de force. From the author of Jesus' Son (stories), The Name of the World, The Stars at Noon, Resuscitation of a Hanged Man, The Incognito Lounge. 702p. Pap.

Editorial Reviews

This major Vietnam novel depicts the era's distinctive psychedelic brutality, the ineptitude of the U.S. military effort, and the otherworldly theater of the ";intelligence"; operations surrounding the politics of the war. Skip Sands is starting out in the hazy world of the CIA under the tutelage of his uncle, Col. F.X. Sands, a veteran of World War II and many years of mercenary covert actions. They are involved in an assassination in the Philippines, where the novel begins in November 1963, and then move on to Vietnam. There, the Colonel sets up an undercover situation for Skip. Whether the Colonel is a rogue agent gone over the edge is open to question. Down at the bottom of the command chain are the brothers Houston, Bill Jr. and James, members of the alcoholic, sociopathic underclass of rural and Bible Belt America last seen in Johnson's Angels . It is these characters with whom the author seems truly in touch. Moving chronologically, the novel proceeds into the late Sixties, when the war seems not so much lost as running down on the political, military, and cultural energy powering it earlier. Ugly and fascinating, with many shattering scenes, this long work may seem familiar to fans of Apocalypse Now but is nevertheless gripping. Recommended for all fiction collections. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 5/15/07.]—Jim Coan, SUNY Coll. at Oneonta

[Page 69]. Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

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