Tim O’Brien’s 1994 novel In the Lake of the Woods tells the story of John Wade, a Minnesota politician who has repressed memories of his involvement in an infamous grisly massacre while serving as a soldier in Vietnam almost twenty years earlier. As the novel opens, Wade has lost his political career, and his wife has disappeared. The story unveils uniquely through numerous flashbacks, hypothetical scenarios, and evidence from testimony, characters, and books. In the Lake of the Woods was widely viewed as one of the best books of 1994, and in 1995, it won the James Fenimore Cooper Prize from the Society of American Historians.


Read the chapter-by-chapter Summary & Analysis, a Full Book Summary, or Full Book Analysis of In the Lake of the Woods.


See a complete Character List for In the Lake of the Woods, as well as in-depth analysis of its most important characters.

Literary Devices

Here's where you'll find analysis of the main themes, motifs, and symbols in In the Lake of the Woods.


Here's where you'll find important quotes from In the Lake of the Woods and explanations of them.


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