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A finalist for both the 1990 Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award, The Things They Carried marks a subtle but definitive line of demarcation between Tim O'Brien's earlier works about Vietnam, the memoir If I Die in a Combat Zone and the fictional Going After Cacciato, and this sly, almost hallucinatory book that is neither memoir nor novel nor collection of short stories but rather an artful combination of all three. Vietnam is still O'Brien's theme, but in this book he seems less interested in the war itself than in the myriad different perspectives from which he depicts it. Whereas Going After Cacciato played with reality, The Things They Carried plays with truth. The narrator of most of these stories is "Tim"; yet O'Brien freely admits that many of the events he chronicles in this collection never really happened. He never killed a man as "Tim" does in "The Man I Killed," and unlike Tim in "Ambush," he has no daughter named Kathleen. But just because a thing never happened doesn't make it any less true. In "On the Rainy River," the character Tim O'Brien responds to his draft notice by driving north, to the Canadian border where he spends six days in a deserted lodge in the company of an old man named Elroy while he wrestles with the choice between dodging the draft or going to war. The real Tim O'Brien never drove north, never found himself in a fishing boat 20 yards off the Canadian shore with a decision to make. The real Tim O'Brien quietly boarded the bus to Sioux Falls and was inducted into the United States Army. But the truth of "On the Rainy River" lies not in facts but in the genuineness of the experience it depicts: both Tims went to a war they didn't believe in; both considered themselves cowards for doing so. Every story in The Things They Carried speaks another truth that Tim O'Brien learned in Vietnam; it is this blurred line between truth and reality, fact and fiction, that makes his book unforgettable. --Alix Wilber --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
It was difficult to follow. I was looking forward to reading this book due to it being Amazon's hundred books to read before death. Read morePublished 13 hours ago by Amazon Customer
An amazing book that I read in High School and read again in college. Somehow, this book always finds it's way back to me. Read morePublished 22 hours ago by Mikal Richards
Wonderful first person overview of what young men see and feel in such a miserable situation. As a vet, O'Brien took me back many years to my time in service. Read morePublished 1 day ago by Larry B. Thatcher
Well-written book gives a pretty clear picture of what it must be like to experience the horrors of fighting in a war and the heartbreak involved. It's a powerful story. Read morePublished 3 days ago by F. Thomas Ott
It was a copy my husband had purchased. This is an incredible book. I didn't know what to expect when I first started reading it. Read morePublished 6 days ago by Marlene Gray