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Going After Cacciato Paperback – September 1, 1999
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NATIONAL BOOK AWARD WINNER
"Simply put, the best novel written about the war. I do not know . . . any writer, journalist, or novelist who does not concede that position to O'Brien's Going After Cacciato."
"A novel of great beauty and importance."
"Stark . . . rhapsodic. . . . It is a canvas painted vividly, hauntingly, disturbingly by Tim O'Brien."
—Los Angeles Times
"As a fictional portrait of this war, Going After Cacciato is hard to fault, and will be hard to better."
—John Updike, The New Yorker
From the Inside Flap
"To call Going After Cacciato a novel about war is like calling Moby-Dick a novel about whales."
So wrote the "New York Times of Tim O'Brien's now classic novel of Vietnam. Winner of the 1979 National Book Award, Going After Cacciato captures the peculiar mixture of horror and hallucination that marked this strangest of wars.
In a blend of reality and fantasy, this novel tells the story of a young soldier who one day lays down his rifle and sets off on a quixotic journey from the jungles of Indochina to the streets of Paris. In its memorable evocation of men both fleeing from and meeting the demands of battle, Going After Cacciato stands as much more than just a great war novel. Ultimately it's about the forces of fear and heroism that do battle in the hearts of us all.
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If this is the first Tim O'Brien novel you've read, then you won't be disappointed by his other Vietnam works such as The Things They Carried [Paperback] and If I Die in a Combat Zone : Box Me Up and Ship Me Home which are better. There are aspects of "Going After Cacciato" which are unrealistic and not fully fleshed out. Although the reason for this becomes clear by the close of the book, I was left with a disappointed feeling. O'Brien is still, however, head and shoulders above many other writers out there. Recommended with the caveat that you lower your expectations for "Going After Cacciato," pay attention to the timelines (particularly the watchtower part) and enjoy the ride.
I thought it was rather good, admittedly confusing, at first. Then, I got it. Then it began to drag, a little bit.
This is a story about the horrors of war, in one man's mind. Kudos to those who fought and died, fought and still suffer, and the innocents. The politicians - American and otherwise - will suffer their justice . There's a lot of guilt here.
This might be a book that will age well.