Summary

On a lake deep in the Minnesota woods, Kathy Wade comforts her husband John, a rising political star, after a devastating electoral defeat in which he's been pursued by rumors of the atrocities he committed in Vietnam. But it is clear that something is horribly wrong between them - too much has been hidden. Then Kathy vanishes, along with their boat.
Pursued by rumors of the atrocities he committed in Vietnam, a politician and his wife seek refuge in a cabin in Minnesota, where a mystery unfolds, in this widely acclaimed, best-selling novel.
©1995 Tim O'Brien (P)2011 Audible, Inc.
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Critic reviews

"A beautifully written, haunting novel that evokes lives in deep crisis." ( Booklist)
"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." ( Library Journal)
"Was she murdered? Did she run away? Instead of answering these questions, O'Brien raises even more as he slowly reveals past lives and long-hidden secrets. Included in this third-person narrative are 'interviews' with the couple's friends and family as well as footnoted excerpts from a mix of fictionalized newspaper reports on the case and real reports pertaining to historical events - a mélange that lends the novel an eerie sense of verisimilitude. If Kathy's disappearance is at the heart of this work, then John's involvement in a My Lai-type massacre in Vietnam is its core, and O'Brien uses it to demonstrate how wars don't necessarily end when governments say they do." (Amazon.com review)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
2 out of 5 stars
By Molly on 30-01-13

Not a life-changing or pivotal war story

I read this book for a book group expecting big things, since I fell in love with The Things They Carried. This.. well it fell flat. I wasn't particularly motivated to keep listening, in part because the story wasn't that captivating. The characters no longer held my interest after getting about 1/4 of the way through. In part, it felt like they were colored *too* much by the narration--I disliked the performance of the wife, which made it harder for me to keep listening.

It might have been better if I'd read it, but I'm not sure. As one person I discussed the book with pointed out, the reliance on the My Lai Massacre and this future senator's role in it felt a bit cheap. The use of multiple possible narratives just didn't strike me as important. The "Evidence" chapters felt a bit like a cop out.

The only thing that felt really honest about the book was its inclusion of testimonials from the characters who participated in the war--O'Brien, as always, managed to capture what it does to a person when you teach them to kill and teach them to fight. I just don't know that I felt this story was necessary to make that point.

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3 of 4 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By C. Reither on 08-06-18

May need a second go

This book is complicated but interesting. There are so many flashbacks and possible story lines and interviews for quotes though that I’m sure I need to read it myself or listen to it again to truly understand it’s intricacies.

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