A deeper look into the war. Jul 23, 2009
O'Brien's novel, based on his experiences in Viet Nam is particularly poignant in light of the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The unpopular and deeply questionable goals of fighting in Viet Nam stand both in contrast and in consanance with the current conflicts. Ultimately the disillusionment that comes with the attendant death and destruction of war reaches a personal level that supercedes the aims and goals of any war. O'Brien is able to capture this essence of the fighting man who is facing death on a daily basis which on the individual level negates the lofty rhetoric of patriotism and sacrifice for God and country. In the end they fight and fought for each other. Using his considerable literary skills O'Brien is able to compose his narratives in such a manner as to leave the reader wondering where his experiences begin and where the use of his "literary licence" is inserted. In fact this is one of the main themes of the book. O'Brien's personal quest to heal his war wounds relies heavily on his abilty to ascribe meaning to his experiences.
This is an excellent book, especially for those who remember the Viet Nam War and for those who have a vested interest in it.