One of the first questions people ask about The Things They Carried is this: Is it a novel, or a collection of short stories? The title page refers to the book simply as "a work of fiction," defying the conscientious reader's need to categorize this masterpiece. It is both: a collection of interrelated short pieces which ultimately reads with the dramatic force and tension of a novel. Yet each one of the twenty-two short pieces is written with such care, emotional content, and prosaic precision that it could stand on its ...
One of the first questions people ask about The Things They Carried is this: Is it a novel, or a collection of short stories? The title page refers to the book simply as "a work of fiction," defying the conscientious reader's need to categorize this masterpiece. It is both: a collection of interrelated short pieces which ultimately reads with the dramatic force and tension of a novel. Yet each one of the twenty-two short pieces is written with such care, emotional content, and prosaic precision that it could stand on its own. The Things They Carried depicts the men of Alpha Company: Jimmy Cross, Henry Dobbins, Rat Kiley, Mitchell Sanders, Norman Bowker, Kiowa, and of course, the character Tim O'Brien who has survived his tour in Vietnam to become a father and writer at the age of forty-three. They battle the enemy (or maybe more the idea of the enemy), and occasionally each other. In their relationships we see their isolation and loneliness, their rage and fear. They miss their families, their girlfriends and buddies; they miss the lives they left back home. Yet they find sympathy and kindness for strangers (the old man who leads them unscathed through the mine field, the girl who grieves while she dances), and love for each other, because in Vietnam they are the only family they have. We hear the voices of the men and build images upon their dialogue. The way they tell stories about others, we hear them telling stories about themselves. With the creative verve of the greatest fiction and the intimacy of a searing autobiography, The Things They Carried is a testament to the men who risked their lives in America's most controversial war. It is also a mirror held up to the frailty of humanity. Ultimately The Things They Carried and its myriad protagonists call to order the courage, determination, and luck we all need to survive."
Fair. This item is listed as acceptable. All pages are intact and all text is readable, but binding may be loose and pages may have creases and shelf wear. May be missing dust jacket and/or supplementary material, and may contain writing and/or heavy highlighting. Big Hearted Books shares its profits with schools, churches and non-profit groups throughout New England. Thank you for your support!
Acceptable. A book with obvious wear. May have some damage to the cover or binding but integrity is still intact. There might be writing in the margins, possibly underlining and highlighting of text, but no missing pages or anything that would compromise the legibility or understanding of the text.
Fair. The item is very worn but continues to work perfectly. Signs of wear can include aesthetic issues such as scratches, dents and worn corners. All pages and the cover are intact, but the dust cover may be missing. Pages may include moderate to heavy amount of notes and highlighting, but the text is not obscured or unreadable. May NOT include discs, access code or other supplemental materials.
It's been over 40 years since I humped the Central Highlands of Vietnam with the 173rd Airborne Brigade. Tim O'Brien's account of those who served in the infantry coincided with many of my experiences and how I remembered feeling at the time of my service. It didn't glorify the life of an infantryman which is not glorious on a day to day basis, rather it described the experience in a way a true grunt can relate to.
Aug 30, 2014
The best writing about Vietnam I know
I've known O'Brien's work for years, and used it in English courses. I ordered this copy for a friend who served with the Maine Corps at Khe Sanh.
Apr 4, 2014
Excellent war tale
Many times while reading this book, I had to check to make sure this was not non-fiction. It was written so well and so believably. Having grown up during this period it made me understand the other side of the war and the veterans that came back. I didn't think I would like a book of this genre but it was quite fascinating.
Jun 20, 2013
Very well written book that many should read to better understand the Vietnam war, because we sure didn't get the support then that all vets seem to get these days.
Jan 17, 2013
War seen from a different viewpoint
The book is an interesting perspective on the emotions at play in soldiering.The writer leads us to understand people through their possessions rather than their actions. This device more than compensates for a somewhat thin story line.
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