The author of The Things They Carried offers a riveting novel of love and mystery. 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 ...
The author of The Things They Carried offers a riveting novel of love and mystery. 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.
John's political career is finished after it suffers a devastating defeat when stories of a Viet Nam massacre cover-up surface and are connected to him. John and his wife Kathy escape the ridicule of the public eye to their lake cabin in the deep woods of Minnesota. While at the cabin, Kathy disappears without a trace. Did she leave with her lover, flee alone, or did John, in his increasing insanity, kill her? Or are John and Kathy planning a deep woods escape across the border to Canada to live out their lives in obscurity? The story is told throughout in the voices of others. It is extremely well-written, haunting and near impossible to put down. Not for the squeamish, it is never-the-less, one fantastic read.
Jan 31, 2008
Magic, Reality & the Vietnam War
What really happened to John Wade when he was a soldier in Vietnam? And what really happened to his recently-missing wife, Kathy? O'Brien's book traces John's life from childhood to present, just after John's failed bid at running for Congress. We get snippets of truth and differing perceptions as the people in John's life, from Kathy's distraught relatives to John's childhood acquaintances, offer pieces of the puzzle, sometimes only one line at a time. A great read, but not for someone who needs absolute answers about "what really happened." You'll have to decide for yourself as you read this sometimes graphic and often haunting story.
Publishers Weekly, 1995-07-31 A politician's career is ruined overnight by revelations of his wartime participation in a village massacre in Vietnam while his personal life is undone by the sudden dissappearance of his wife. (Sept.)
Publishers Weekly, 1994-07-11 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.)
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