Tree of Smoke

A Novel

Denis Johnson

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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Once upon a time there was a war . . . and a young American who thought of himself as the Quiet American and the Ugly American, and who wished to be neither, who wanted instead to be the Wise American, or the Good American, but who eventually came to witness himself as the Real American and finally as simply the Fucking American. That’s me.

This is the story of Skip Sands—spy-in-training, engaged in Psychological Operations against the Vietcong—and the disasters that befall him thanks to his famous uncle, a war hero known in intelligence circles simply as the Colonel. This is also the story of the Houston brothers, Bill and James, young men who drift out of the Arizona desert into a war in which the line between disinformation and delusion has blurred away. In its vision of human folly, and its gritty, sympathetic portraits of men and women desperate for an end to their loneliness, whether in sex or death or by the grace of God, this is a story like nothing in our literature.

Tree of Smoke is Denis Johnson’s first full-length novel in nine years, and his most gripping, beautiful, and powerful work to date.

Tree of Smoke is the 2007 National Book Award Winner for Fiction.

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Last night at 3:00 a.m. President Kennedy had been killed. Seaman Houston and the other two recruits slept while the first reports traveled around the world. There was one small nightspot on the island, a dilapidated club with big revolving fans in the ceiling and one bar and one pinball game; the two marines who ran the club had come by to wake them up and tell them what had happened to the President. The two marines sat with the three sailors on the bunks in the Quonset hut for transient enlisted men, watching the air conditioner drip water into a coffee can and drinking beer.

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Tree of Smoke by Denis Johnson--Audiobook Excerpt

Listen to this audiobook excerpt from Denis Johnson's novel Tree of Smoke, the 2007 National Book Award Winner for Fiction. Tree of Smoke is the story of William "Skip" Sands, CIA--engaged in Pschological 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.

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Reviews

Praise for Tree of Smoke

"Denis Johnson has delivered his masterpiece.”  —Chris Offutt
 
"The God I want to believe in has a voice and a sense of humor like Denis Johnson's."  —Jonathan Franzen
 
"Prose of amazing power and stylishness."  —Philip Roth
                                                                                                                   “Once Johnson gets his hooks into you—it takes about two sentences—it’s . . . pretty much impossible to stop reading.”   —David Gates, The New York Times Book Review
 
“An amazingly talented writer . . . We can hear Twain in his biting irony, Whitman in his erotic excess, not a little of Dashiell Hammett too in the hard sentences he throws back at his gouged, wounded world.” —Vince Passaro, Newsday

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About the Author

Denis Johnson

Denis Johnson is the author of five novels, a collection of poetry and one book of reportage. He is the recipient of a Lannan Fellowship and a Whiting Writer’s Award, among many other honors for his work. He lives in northern Idaho.

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Available Formats and Book Details

Tree of Smoke
A Novel
Denis Johnson

Award

National Book Awards - Winner, Pulitzer Prize - Finalist

e-Book Agency

e-Book Agency
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
September 2007
e-Book Agency
ISBN: 9780374708405
ISBN10: 0374708401
624 pages
$9.99

Unabridged Digital Audio

Unabridged  Digital Audio
Macmillan Audio
September 2007
Unabridged Digital Audio
ISBN: 9781427202154
ISBN10: 142720215X
Audio Run Time: 23:00
$29.99

Trade Paperback

Trade Paperback
Picador
September 2008
Trade Paperback
ISBN: 9780312427740
ISBN10: 0312427743
5 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches, 720 pages
$16.00
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Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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