Synopses & Reviews
Tree of Smoke - the name given to a 'psy op' that might or might not be hypothetical and might or might not be officially sanctioned - is Denis Johnson's most gripping, visionary and ambitious work to date. Set in south-east Asia and the US, and spanning two decades, it ostensibly tells the story of Skip Sands, a CIA spy who may or may not be engaged in psychological operations against the Viet Cong -- but also takes the reader on a surreal yet vivid journey, dipping in and out of characters' lives to reveal fundamental truths at the heart of the human condition.
'A Catch-22 for our times' Alan Warner, Books of the Year, Observer
'The God I want to believe in has a voice and a sense of humour like Denis Johnson's' Jonathan Franzen
'An epic of drenched sensuality and absurdly chewable dialogue, as though Don DeLillo and Joseph Heller had collaborated on a Vietnam war novel' Steven Poole, Books of the Year, New Statesman
Winner of the National Book Award
One of the New York Times 10 Best Books of the Year
Named a Best Book of the Year by Time, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle, Amazon.com, Salon, Slate, The National Book Critics Circle, The Christian Science Monitor. . . .
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. 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.