Monday, June 02, 2008

Tree of Smoke - post II

There are several points of view with the narrative moving along with Skip Sands the CIA officer being sent on his Uncle’s business to check out what is happening in a village on from Manila.

Skip is told to meet a priest who knows the area and has been preaching there for years. Meanwhile things switch to follow the priest on his way to try and retrieve the body of a Seventh day Adventist who has been killed.

The action then switches back to Sands, but through the eyes of a woman, who it turns out is the widow of the missionary who has been found dead near a river in the jungle.

The book is not that easy to follow and part of the reason is that despite your initial expectations being of a Vietnam epic the action here is on the fringes and the point that is being made is different. Everyone is on some sort of secret mission and the shadow that falls across them all is Vietnam and the damage it is doing. Kennedy’s death is referred to on numerous occasions acting as a wider metaphor for the end of innocence and control.

More tomorrow…

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