I seem to have stumbled into quite a few books lately that feature characters who fought in Vietnam. This one, In the Lake of the Woods, the second that I have read by Tim O’Brien and feature a politician who is haunted by his participation in that war. The disappearance of his wife after a failed campaign puts him in the spotlight of the small, lake town where he and his wife went to get away from things. It’s always the husband right? Well O’Brien doesn’t let you get away with that and the story takes you back through the lives of the couple.
The novel for me was rather dark and I’m not hinting at the outcome of the book, but rather the bleakness of the story. The flashbacks to the war are disturbing and based on other books consistent with some of the more heinous actions by soldiers.
Every few chapters we are greeted with a series of quotes from real people and characters from the book and after a while I found these tedious rather than helpful. The book was good and I was entertained, but I am not sure that I would actually recommend it to anyone. Ever the optimist, I was hoping through the last fifty pages that this would end on a high note. Maybe it did, but that is up to the reader to discern.