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The things they carried : a work of fiction

by Tim O'Brien

  Print book : Fiction

1 of 2 people found this review helpful.
A modern classic   (2008-05-27)


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by natelevin

This book is widely taught in colleges and schools. It is one of the basic books to come out of the American experience in Vietnam."The Things They Carried" is generally in the form of linked stories, further tied together by the author/narrator's comments and possibly fictive explanations.Many of the stories depict experiences of a platoon of American soldiers on foot patrol in Vietnam. The main emphasis is on the psychological aspect of war--what the risk of death and guilt from killing wreak on the soul of the infantryman. Other stories are set after the war, as characters recollect their time as soldiers.The author himself, when asked what the main theme of this book was, replied, "Truth". Through a mix of realism and surrealism, with use of numerous frames and narrative strategies, and postmodern reworking of form and point of view, the author strives to convey the essentials of combat experiences that are notoriously difficult to transmit or to understand. The result is haunting, beautifully written, and profound--illuminating not just a crucial period in modern American history but also the metasignificance of the act of telling a story.For further perspectives on "The Things They Carried", the reader may browse the more than 600 customer reviews posted at

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