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The things they carried : a work of fiction / by Tim O'Brien.
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- Publication Information:Boston : Mariner Books/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009.
- Publication Date:2009
- Physical Description:233 pages ; 21 cm
- Publication Type:Book
- Document Type:Short stories
- Subject Terms:Vietnam War (1961-1975); Vietnam War (1961-1975.); Vietnam War, 1961-1975 -- Veterans -- Fiction; Vietnam War, 1961-1975 -- Fiction; War stories, American; Veterans; War stories; Psychological fiction; Fiction
LJ Reviews 1990 February #2
Winner of a National Book Award in 1979 for Going After Cacciato ( LJ 12/15/77), O'Brien again shows his literary stuff with this brilliant collection of short stories, many of which have won literary recognition (several appeared in O. Henry Awards' collections and Best American Short Stories ). Each of the 22 tales relates the exploits and personalities of a fictional platoon of American soldiers in Vietnam. An acutely painful reading experience, this collection should be read as a book and not a mere selection of stories reprinted from magazines. Not since Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse - Five ( LJ 3/1/69) has the American soldier been portrayed with such poignance and sincerity. Literary Guild featured alternate. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 11/15/89.-- Mark Annichiarico, ``Library Journal'' Copyright 1990 Cahners Business Information.
Fast paced, but still thought provoking. O'Brien has a writing style that is interesting, which grabs your attention and forces you to digest what he has to say.
Whether fact or fiction, an important and artful s
There are lots of ways to grade a book. One of them is on the technical artistry of it, another is on the story it tells or the message it brings. "The Thing They Carried" scores pretty high on the artistry scale. It also scores pretty high on the message scale, sort of. There's a lot of talk about "happening truth"/fact and "story truth"/fiction in and about this book in a way that is confusing, frustrating, and misleading. If you want to learn about or feel like a soldier in Vietnam, this book will certainly help. Read more at http://bloggersbug.com/wordpress/the-things-they-carried-by-tim-obrien
This book explores the idea "What makes a Self?" from the points of view of a young brain-damaged man, his sister, and the neuroscientist who tries to understand and then to help cure his injury. These three characters are very vivid. A fourth character is there mainly to provide a plot. The neuroscientist is clearly modeled on Oliver Sachs, the popularizer of neuroscience in such books as "The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat." It would be interesting to read the two books together.
Eleven family, friends and co-workers saw action in Vietnam. They served in all branches but Coast Guard. All came back physically whole but mentally most are questionable. I just closed your book........Thanks Tim.
True to Life
About the Vietnam War and regular soldiers, no heroic actions but the hidden inner world of human being.
I chose The Things They Carried because of its appealing book title and cover. I’m very interested in history so this proved to be a great choice. This fiction book by Tim O’Brien is about a group of Vietnam soldiers and the things they carried with them while they marched. It was published in 1998, and joins other three other books the author wrote about war, one of them a memoir titled “If I Die in a Combat Zone”. There are 246 pages with a lot of different stories that are supposed to be fiction; however, I think it’s based largely on the author’s own experiences. The storyteller and main character’s name is Tim O’Brien, which was my first clue. This story is set in different mountains, fields, trails lakes and streams in Vietnam during the Vietnam war. There are 22 chapters, each containing a different story about something important that happened to the characters. As the title alludes, it’s mainly about the things they carried because each character carries something in their packs that gives a solves the mystery about their personalities and experiences. For example, Mitchell Sanders is a storyteller, always topping everyone’s experiences with stories of his own so he always made sure he had extra condoms in his pack. Henry Dobbins was a large, big-hearted man who always carried extra rations in his pack. Dave Jensen is very meticulous so he always made sure he had dental floss and an extra toothbrush in his pack. There were many main characters in the book, but three of them stood out for me. The main character, and narrator, is Tim O’Brien. He is a very conflicted individual. He battles with his feelings against war and his sense of duty to defend his country. He struggles from the beginning of the story to the every end, and still left me with a feeling that he will never find peace. My favorite character was Kiowa, a native American who was very spiritual. The thing he carried was his bible. He was the one who supported everyone when they were losing it or needed someone to talk to. I felt really sad about the way he died, and it proved again what a waste war is. Finally, there was Rat Kiley, who arranged for his girlfriend to fly into their war camp in Vietnam. He was a funny storyteller with a colorful personality, who made everyone’s life interesting and different for awhile during the war. One thing I didn’t like about the book is that sometimes it got graphically violent. The author described the killings in great detail, right down to the bone shards and guts spilling out. It was a very real account of how things were in the war, however, there times I had to put the book down to be able to take the violence in doses. The author did describe the countryside in great detail to depict how harsh the conditions were during the marches. I could almost feel the extremely hot temperatures, the total darkness and the torrential rains. He had some references to the Vietnamese people, but I felt the book was more about the American soldiers and their hardships than about Vietnam.
Not just another war story
Not Just Another War Story Im not much of a reader; it takes an extraordinary book to grab my attention enough to read it front to cover. The Things They Carried is one of those books that I can read front to back withouth being bored. This book brings out the truth of war, the sadness and the lost friends, but it also reveals how beautiful it all was. It stepped aside from the real world of battle and chaos, and described the scenery and the parts that people don’t think of to be on a battle field. The author Tim O’Brien goes into detail about each man in his crew; he describes to you each of their personalities . He tells about each of their prized possessions that they chose to carry, not because they had to, but because it reminded them of home or made them feel safe. Dave Jensen carried a rabbit’s foot, Lieutenant Cross carried his good luck pebble-- every man had his own possession. Tim O’Brien brings to you the feelings and thoughts of the soldiers who walked through the jungle and fields of Vietnam. He goes into detail of emotions of soldiers who had family back home, or had lost a friend in battle. The way he sets the scene and provides a picture as if you were actually there makes the book interesting and exciting. This quote shows how it talks to your senses: “The trees are alive. The grass, the soil-everything. All around you things are purely living, and you among them, and the aliveness makes you tremble. You feel an intense, out-of-the-skin awareness of your living self.” Although I enjoyed the enitre book there was one story he told that I liked the most. It was about a man named Mark Fossie who brought his girlfriend over to vietnam. She came as a sweet girl that wore pink outfits and was afraid to get her boots dirty. All the guys at camp loved her, and Mark loved having her be there. But as time went on Mark Fossie began to realize that he was slowly losing Mary Anne. She was becoming a little TOO comfortable being there, she acted like there was no war going on. She wanted to go into towns and into the jungle to adventure. After a while she began going on night patrols with the “greenies” those who did ambushes. She began to become addicted to the adrenaline and the excitement of being a part of Mother Nature and blending in with the trees and bushes. Mary Anne leaves the camp for a few weeks, when she returns she doesn’t stay with Mark she goes into the Greenies’ hut. When Mark went in the next day to find her, he found her wearing a human tongue necklace and in a room full of candles and dead animals. He didn’t know what to do about the situation and a few days later he was called to leave camp. After days of being away he heard that Mary Anne had gone…and become part of the land. The Things They Carried is a good book for those who want to read the truth about battle. The book appeals to people who want to hear about the feelings of the men at war, to realize that there are many more injuries in war besides one from a bullet or shrapnel. It tells the truth of war, not the fantasies that everyone are told of; it’s the gore and the feeling of anger and loss, and even the ironic beauty. I would recommend this book to someone who wants to picture what it is like not just being shot at, but being in a true war.
This is one of the best and most challenging books I've read in years. The author writes (what I consider to be) a scathing criticism of war but in a very literary way. He explores the relationship between reality and fantasy, truth and falsehood, and what he calls "story-truth" and "happening-truth" expertly. It will break your heart, but everyone should read this book.
this book advocates the telling of lies. Don't read it if you like the truth because all this book does is attempt to undermine the value of absolute truth.
The Things They Carried
O'Brien is perhaps the best novelist of the Vietnam War. This is a collection of linked short stories. You might also enjoy Going After Cacciatto, O'Brien's best novel on the subject.