BookBrowse Reviews Tree of Smoke by Denis Johnson

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Tree of Smoke

A Novel

by Denis Johnson

Tree of Smoke
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  • First Published:
    Sep 2007, 624 pages
    Paperback:
    Sep 2008, 624 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Lucia Silva

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A book about what war does to its denizens, and specifically, what a senseless, glory-less war does to their souls

Three separate writers use the word "tremendous" in their reviews of Denis Johnson's Tree of Smoke, and the word is fitting in all of its meanings: extraordinarily great, powerful, immense, and terrifying. Most beloved for his skinny collection of stories, Jesus' Son, Johnson's latest tome piles his trademark themes of desperation, outsiders, grim fates and lazy quests for redemption into a 614-page monster of a book about that monster of a war, Vietnam. Forget the particulars or historical details. This is a book about what war does to its denizens, and specifically, what a senseless, glory-less war does to their souls.

Johnson's prose is powerful, physical and muscular, and draws well lit, sharply defined, and meticulously detailed ...

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