He has interviewed surviving characters and built a narrative on his own speculation. He was the ultimate magician both personally and in his perception of his vocations of soldier and politician.
O'Brien is also building a character, John Wade, whose inner architecture is more emblematic than personal. A nightmare like that, all you want is to forget. He served in Vietnam during the war. John Wade, the protagonist, endured verbal abuse from his father and then lost his father to suicide.
It seems like a book that needed more work to live up to its best, and perhaps editor Seymour Lawrence's death last winter deprived it of that.
John Wade is an incredibly intriguing and dynamic character whose different sides show throughout various parts of the novel. After weeks of searching, no one found her.
How much different would things be if we had just spoken up, taken a different job, moved to a different place and reinvented ourselves?