In 1994, Tim O’Brien released the thrilling fiction novel titled In the Lake of the Woods. During the time of the book’s debut, it was one of the first novels to be written in such a unique format. The author strategically uses the chapters as a way to jump back and forth between the past and present tense. He is able to utilize the narrator as a separate character apart from those involved with the story. O’Brien created a suspenseful mystery novel that engages the reader with the dilemma of solving a missing person’s case. The story begins with the main character, John Wade, and his wife, Kathy Wade, in their cabin in Lake of the Woods. They are discussing their future and all the dreams they want to accomplish together. Any reader would assume that it is a classic love story, but then the author gives an unexpected twist. Upon completing the novel, it is apparent to the reader that one could never truly know a person. The actions of the characters confirm that love has a blinding effect which causes one to see only what they want to see, making it so that truly knowing someone completely is not possible.
John Wade is an incredibly secretive character. From his childhood, he has always been one of those closed off people who keep to themselves. Growing up, he spent most of his time alone in his basement, practicing his magic tricks. Magic was his escape from the world; it was the one thing he had complete control over. With all of his practice, he became very skilled and it was something he took much pride in. Once he got older, he met a young girl named Kathy. The two fell head-over-heels for each other instantly. Kathy was the first person John had ever had such a connection with. She meant everything to him, and his greatest fear was losing her. After the two had been seeing each other for a little while, John enlisted in the military. He went off to fight in the war against Vietnam. Throughout the time of John’s service, the two wrote letters to each other back and forth until he came back home.
Once John returned home, it didn’t take long for him and Kathy to get married. He went to school and got a degree in law. John became a politician and ran in a few elections. He won a couple of them, and then he decided he wanted to run for the US Senate. After losing that election, the couple decided to move out of town and into a place called Lake of the Woods. They stayed in a cabin that was owned by an older couple who lived a few miles away, and they had no other neighbors. It was just the two of them, and they liked it that way. Many nights they stayed up late, talking about moving out of the country and discussing possible names for their children. Things seemed to be going well, until one morning when John awoke. He reached for Kathy in bed next to him, but she wasn’t there. He called her name a few times, but there was no answer. She was gone.
The remainder of the book is focused on finding Kathy and figuring out exactly what happened to...