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In Tim O'Brien's novel Going After Cacciato the theater of war becomes the theater of the absurd as a private deserts his post in Vietnam, intent on walking 8,000 miles to Paris for the peace talks. The remaining members of his squad are sent after him, but what happens then is anybody's guess: "The facts were simple: They went after Cacciato, they chased him into the mountains, they tried hard. They cornered him on a small grassy hill. They surrounded the hill. They waited through the night. And at dawn they shot the sky full of flares and then they moved in.... That was the end of it. The last known fact. What remained were possibilities."
It is these possibilities that make O'Brien's National Book Award-winning novel so extraordinary. Told from the perspective of squad member Paul Berlin, the search for Cacciato soon enters the realm of the surreal as the men find themselves following an elusive trail of chocolate M&M's through the jungles of Indochina, across India, Iran, Greece, and Yugoslavia to the streets of Paris. The details of this hallucinatory journey alternate with feverish memories of the war--men maimed by landmines, killed in tunnels, engaged in casual acts of brutality that would be unthinkable anywhere else. Reminiscent of Joseph Heller's Catch-22, Going After Cacciato dishes up a brilliant mix of ferocious comedy and bleak horror that serves to illuminate both the complex psychology of men in battle and the overarching insanity of war. --Alix Wilber --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Also, O'Brien's writing is delightful.
This novel is about much more than the Vietnam War, although it does a great job of depicting the day-to-day life of the ordinary soldier in the war memory scenes.
I did not like this book because it went from a chapter of real events, to the next chapter going to unreal events.
Incoherent and boring. A long saga leading nowhere. Character development poor and not that interesting. Closed the book after reading about one third, not to return. Read morePublished 21 days ago by Alex Doyle
This book has what you expect from Tim O'Brien: guts, grit,character, and truth which defies sanity. Read morePublished 21 days ago by rally_squirrel_west
Witty, funny, ironic writing about soldiers completely lost in war. I think this is O'Brien's best writing.Published 1 month ago by Stephen Armstrong
This is the second book I've read by O'Brien in the last couple of weeks. The character development is great. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Sean
The author's own experiences give him the credibility to invite us to think about this subject in the ways that this book causes us to do.Published 2 months ago by D. Hanes
I generally am a military history reader but this is different because
all of the characters are very engaging. Read more