Tree Of Smoke

Another book the Gotham Gal gave me to read on vacation is Tree Of Smoke by Denis Johnson.

Tree Of Smoke is about vietnam, nominally about the war, but really about the experience of being there in the 60s and how it messed with people.

It’s a big novel, some 600+ pages, and Denis Johnson’s writing is gripping

The characters are a sordid bunch and you never really like them (at least I never did). But in their stories you’ll recognize those of many people deeply affected by their time in southeast asia in the late 60s and early 70s

Tree of Smoke is not a war story, its a story about human beings and the hell that is war. I found it to be powerful, moving, the kind of story that sticks with you for a while.

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Comments (Archived):

  1. ryan

    I’m just starting Tree of Smoke, but his non-fiction is unbelievable as well. His collection, “Seek: Reports from the Edges of America & Beyond” still resonates… a few years later.

    1. fredwilson

      I’ve read those reviews. I guess its a love/hate thing with himFred

      1. Michael Megalli

        In the era of Jesus’ Son I thought his stuff was great.

  2. Guest

    So here’s what I am wondering: instead of lugging those heavy books around, wouldn’t it have been handier to have a Kindle? When it first came out I thought, wow, this would be great for all the travel that I do where I’m forced to grab one or two books which may or may not align with my mood at the time; instead I can have hundreds of books to choose from.I think the device has some problems (it’s ugly for starters) and I know you posted Scoble’s video review (which I thought to be grossly immature. He made me want to try the device because he was throwing an infantile tantrum and making personal attacks verses critiquing the device for its pros and cons) but I am curious Fred if you would’ve preferred one lightweight device with multiple books on it for the long trip?I almost bought the device when it first came out but paused when I heard the negative feedback. I don’t have time to read as much as I’d like to but can see the benefits of something like the Kindle for the 100 days or so of the year that I’m on the road…

    1. fredwilson

      I don’t see myself using a book reader deviceMore likely an iphone or a bugFred

      1. Guest

        I’m still unsure. If I do break down and get one I’ll let you know if it works for me as envisioned or not. I think the i-Phone would be too small for my bad eyes but maybe I’m wrong… The other thing I was thinking about with the Kindle is for school. My son who is in high school doesn’t have a locker like we used to have (not sure what that is all about) so he lugs his books to and from school every day). It might be nice to have them on a simple, transportable device.The bug stuff looked pretty awesome!