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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.
I had to read this book for one of my college courses and for the most part I detest books that are assigned but I really enjoyed this one. Read morePublished 5 days ago by Amazon Customer
Fictional treatment of the personal perspective of a Vietnam era soldier. No generalizations here. Lots of questions.Published 7 days ago by Kay Hubbard
This is one of those books that I wish never ended. It is beautifully written and is an easy read. I highly recommend it.Published 7 days ago by Mary Ann Branham
We had to read this for my english class and at first i didn't think it was going to be my type of book but the all changed. It tells so much more then just the events of Vietnam. Read morePublished 8 days ago by David
This is the kind of novel that, once finished, leaves you with a sad sort of longing. There's really no catharsis or feelings of relief, just an understanding that you don't quite... Read morePublished 8 days ago by Dumb dave
Powerful writing, and hard to read at parts, this book manages to crawl into your psyche and change the way you look at your life. Read morePublished 17 days ago by Jill Hinton
First off, I never served in Vietnam. I did serve 30 years in the US Army and have two combat tours under my belt. So I want to say that I do not denigrate either Mr. Read morePublished 26 days ago by Career Soldier
Made me evaluate what I 'carry' in this life and what is truly important. It took me a month to read this book but only because I wanted it to last!Published 26 days ago by Kevin P.