“The solitude bent back on itself. Everywhere was nowhere.” ― Tim O’Brien, In the Lake of the Woods

This is going to be a short and complicated review, so get ready!

I bought this book like 4 years ago, and until I finally read it… and this was the second attempt to do so. To be honest, I wouldn’t have lost anything if I had just forgotten to read it.

I have read or checked that this book is a compilation of skill and research, both done and owned by O’Brien… however, I found this book to be boring, uninteresting and tiring. Yes, we have the whole Viet Cong war, the evidence, and the horrifying idea that the events of the main character did happen, and that is the only thing I found interesting.

The novel is a bit predictable with the crime “mystery”. It was indeed so obvious that the resolution and the climax of the book happened like in the first 50 pages of the 300. The narration goes from the present and the past, then the evidence, moves into the further beyond past (this is said with all the malice and intention to confuse you as the book did) that nobody remembers, after that the imaginary events, and finally all of it all over again and for me… all over the place. The evidence part was so distracting and even more boring than the rest of the book.

The description of the violent events was really explicit and I felt the horrors of the war for 5 minutes. Then all the same again. I must say that I like the portrayal of the traumas of the war and how war destroys not only the countries but the inner world of the fighters. One of the best scenes was the description of the lake and the woods; a place where the sky swallowed the sky and the forest folded into forest, a place of lost. That is so true and such a strong image that the reader gets swallowed by the book, shaken inside the mouth, and then spat like mouthwash…

It was perfect unity, perfect oneness, the flat mirroring waters giving off exact copies of other copies, everything in multiples, everything hypnotic and blue and meaningless, always the same. Here, Wade decided, was where the vanished things go. The dropped nickles. The needles in haystacks.

I would not recommend this book to someone regardless of all the reviews at the back of the book, but don’t let that stop you, give it a try. I agree that its ambiguity is a nice touch, but it is super easy to get lost in it. It might be because I have read other thriller books better than this one, but I do not see any miracle or ecstatic possibility.

If you wish to check the Goodreads profile, hey! Feel free to go there! I have added below the link to the review and the rating I gave to this book.

GoodReads – My profile

In the Lake of the Woods

If you liked what I wrote and/or if you wish to comment or discuss, come and do it!

Thank you for reading!

“Find your peace, find your joy, find your book, and never let go”.

  1. Beware Of The Reader Avatar
    Beware Of The Reader

    Very good review but not my kind of book 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Satou Johns Avatar

      It wasn’t mine either XD
      Thank you for you kind words!


  2. “If people could handle their self-loathing, customer service would be smoother.” ― YOU ― Caroline Kepnes – INKISH KINGDOMS Avatar

    […] by the greatest and most hyped of authors Stephen King and his stories (ex: Dr. Sleep) and also In the Lake of the Woods by O’Brien who clearly foreshadows the resolution of the first […]

    Liked by 1 person

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