Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
Tree of Smoke

Tree of Smoke

A Novel

Denis Johnson; Read by Will Patton

Macmillan Audio


National Book Awards Winner

Digital Audio


Macmillan Audio

Macmillan Audio


ISBN: 9781427202154


Apple iTunes

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.

National Book Awards Winner, Pulitzer Prize - Finalist, Audie Award Winner, Best of the Year



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.


Praise for Tree of Smoke

“This is the very talented Will Paton's greatest performance as a reader so far. His range of voices and evocation of character--the hopeful, the innocent, the cynical, the despairing and the mad--bring the tale to even more terrible and blistered life than the book itself, making it a 23-hour excursion into mesmerizing darkness.” —The Washington Post

“Patton is outstanding...[his] performance is quiet, powerful, and gut-wrenching....This is MUST listening.” —AudioFile Magazine

“Denis Johnson's novel, Tree of Smoke, is masterful and irredeemably dark…Will Patton's seamless narration transforms this novel into a superb audio.” —BookPage

“Will Patton's reading of "Tree of Smoke" is superb...The experience overall is one of hallucinatory horror, laugh-out-loud outrage, of sadness at the tremendous waste of lives, money and the national pride that went into Vietnam and did not return.” —Sarasota Herald-Tribune

“Easily the best audiobook I listened to in 2007, "Tree of Smoke" has been called a Vietnam War book, but its reach is much deeper...Johnson has written a powerful document, and Patton matches the depth and breadth of the novel with a performance that captures the nuance of the language...” —Times Union

“American actor Will Patton provides an excellent fully-voiced reading…it fits the story like a glove. He will keep listeners involved.” —

About the author

Denis Johnson; Read by Will Patton

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.

Will Patton is an Earphones Award-winner and Audie finalist who has narrated works by Charles Frazier, Larry McMurtry, Don DeLillo, and Ernest Hemingway. He was named Best Voice in Mystery & Suspense by AudioFile magazine in both 2008 and 2009. Patton's narration of Stephen King's Doctor Sleep earned an Audie for fiction in 2014.

Denis Johnson

© Cindy Lee Johnson

Denis Johnson

Will Patton

From the Publisher

Macmillan Audio

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