Writing an original war novel in this day and age would seem like a daunting task, but poet, short story writer and ex-junkie Denis Johnson (Jesus’ Son) has succeeded magnificently. His tight prose and witty dialogue make this sprawling Vietnam-era tale effortlessly compelling, and won him the 2007 National Book Award.— Sarah B.
NATIONAL BOOK AWARD WINNER
One of the New York Times 10 Best Books of the Year
"The God I want to believe in has a voice and a sense of humor like Denis Johnson's.” —Jonathan Franzen
Named A Best Book of the Year by Time, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle, Salon, Slate, The National Book Critics Circle, The Christian Science Monitor. . .
Tree of Smoke is the story of William "Skip" Sands, CIA--engaged in Psychological Operations against the Vietcong--and the disasters that befall him. It 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. In the words of Michiko Kakutani in The New York Times, Tree of Smoke is "bound to become one of the classic works of literature produced by that tragic and uncannily familiar war."
About the Author
Denis Johnson (1949–2017) is the author of eight novels, one novella, one book of short stories, three collections of poetry, two collections of plays, and one book of reportage. His novel Tree of Smoke won the 2007 National Book Award.
“Denis Johnson is a true American artist, and Tree of Smoke is a tremendous book.” —The New York Times Book Review
“I can't be sure that there's been a better American novel published in the past ten years. It is a masterpiece.” —The Miami Herald
“It will . . . get inside your head like the war it is describing--mystifying, horrifying, mesmerizing. [Johnson] has written a book that by the end wraps around you as tightly as a snake.” —The Washington Post Book World
“Tree of Smoke is a masterpiece of language and depth.” —San Francisco Chronicle
“Johnson has captured the zeitgeist of American experience as surely as Twain, Hemingway, or Ellison.” —New York Post
“Opens a window onto a world of mystery, war, and intrigue whose importance in the (usually) unwritten history of our republic can't be denied.” —Chicago Tribune
“Johnson has written his War and Peace.” —Harper's Magazine