: Things they carried, the (9780006543947) : Tim O'Brien : Books
  Login | Register En  |  Fr
Antoine Online

Things They Carried, The

by Tim O'Brien
Our price: LBP 23,800Unavailable
*Contact us to request a special order. Price may vary.
I Add to my wishlist

Product Details

  • Publisher: Flamingo
  • Publishing date: 25/07/1991
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-13: 9780006543947
  • ISBN: 0006543944


"They carried all the emotional baggage of men who might die. Grief, terror, love, longing--these were intangibles, but the intangibles had their own mass and specific gravity, they had tangible weight. They carried shameful memories. They carried the common secret of cowardice.... Men killed, and died, because they were embarrassed not to."

A finalist for both the 1990 Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award, The Things They Carried marks a subtle but definitive line of demarcation between Tim O'Brien's earlier works about Vietnam, the memoir If I Die in a Combat Zone and the fictional Going After Cacciato, and this sly, almost hallucinatory book that is neither memoir nor novel nor collection of short stories but rather an artful combination of all three. Vietnam is still O'Brien's theme, but in this book he seems less interested in the war itself than in the myriad different perspectives from which he depicts it. Whereas Going After Cacciato played with reality, The Things They Carried plays with truth. The narrator of most of these stories is "Tim"; yet O'Brien freely admits that many of the events he chronicles in this collection never really happened. He never killed a man as "Tim" does in "The Man I Killed," and unlike Tim in "Ambush," he has no daughter named Kathleen. But just because a thing never happened doesn't make it any less true. In "On the Rainy River," the character Tim O'Brien responds to his draft notice by driving north, to the Canadian border where he spends six days in a deserted lodge in the company of an old man named Elroy while he wrestles with the choice between dodging the draft or going to war. The real Tim O'Brien never drove north, never found himself in a fishing boat 20 yards off the Canadian shore with a decision to make. The real Tim O'Brien quietly boarded the bus to Sioux Falls and was inducted into the United States Army. But the truth of "On the Rainy River" lies not in facts but in the genuineness of the experience it depicts: both Tims went to a war they didn't believe in; both considered themselves cowards for doing so. Every story in The Things They Carried speaks another truth that Tim O'Brien learned in Vietnam; it is this blurred line between truth and reality, fact and fiction, that makes his book unforgettable. --Alix Wilber

In just a few easy steps below, you can become an online reviewer.
You'll be able to make changes before you submit your review.

    From Amazon

    I am an Honorably Discharged Vietnam Era Veteran and I wish I could have read this book twenty years ago when it was released. The author's mixing of words... experiences... emotions... dreams... lies... memories... and regrets... surrounding the Vietnam War... defines what has existed within me... and outside me... and in the very ether... so that I began to wonder... if it was real... or simply my soul's creation... to keep me afloat. O'Brien was drafted in June of 1968 when he was twenty-one-years-old... I was drafted in August 1968 and was nineteen years-old. Interwoven throughout this searingly accurate portrayal of young men at war... are soldiers quirky methods of coming to grips with the second-to-second-minute-to-minute-day-to-day inner conflict to psychologically fight the human battle of not knowing if your current breath will be your last... and if you survive the accumulation of your allotted "tick-tick-tick-second's-and-minutes" and go home outside of a body bag... what can you... or do you... ever share with others? Some things can't be shared because they're deemed classified during your debriefing. Other things you not only can't let out... you don't know how to... and much more importantly... if you attempt to purge experiences that have been locked within the vault that only you have the combination to... to the wrong person... it's worse than to not have tried. "OFTEN IN A TRUE WAR STORY THERE IS NOT EVEN A POINT, OR ELSE THE POINT DOESN'T HIT YOU UNTIL TWENTY YEARS LATER, IN YOUR SLEEP, AND YOU WAKE UP AND SHAKE YOUR WIFE AND START TELLING THE STORY TO HER, EXCEPT WHEN YOU GET TO THE END YOU'VE FORGOTTEN THE POINT AGAIN." Or worse... she doesn't listen or interrupts you. Five years after... I woke up in the middle of the night sweating and woke up my wife and wanted to tell her what was buried within me... she didn't pay attention so I stopped... eleven years after... I woke up sweating in the middle of the night and woke up my second wife... and tried to tell her and she interrupted me... twenty-three years later as a single Father I told my twelve-year-old son and he listened. This story is about life and death... "THOUGH IT'S ODD YOU'RE NEVER MORE ALIVE THAN WHEN YOU'RE ALMOST DEAD. YOU RECOGNIZE WHAT'S VALUABLE. FRESHLY, AS IF FOR THE FIRST TIME, YOU LOVE WHAT'S BEST IN YOURSELF AND IN THE WORLD, ALL THAT MIGHT BE LOST." This is not a story about post-traumatic-stress-disorder... it's more about... what... how... and when you decide to remember. "THE THING ABOUT REMEMBERING IS THAT YOU DON'T FORGET." It's about people like me who weren't old enough to drink... but were old enough to kill. "THEY WERE AFRAID OF DYING BUT THEY WERE EVEN MORE AFRAID TO SHOW IT." It's about tongue necklaces and your fellow soldiers' body parts hanging in a tree like XMAS ornaments. It's about forty-years later and the author's daughter now knows some of the stories... and my son now knows some of the stories... but "YOU CAN'T REMEMBER HOW YOU GOT FROM WHERE YOU WERE TO WHERE YOU ARE." It is also about a soldier who after his best friend is killed... brutally and methodically shoots a baby water buffalo in so many places with no mercy... till it crumbles to the ground in slow motion like one of the old sports stadiums that was imploded on TV... and the fact that every single soldier then or now... understands the sentiment at that moment... on that day. The fact that the story starts with an endless list of items that soldiers carried such as M-16's... gas grenades... brass knuckles... .38 caliber Smith & Wesson handguns... 66 mm LAW's... a feathered hatchet... Claymore antipersonnel mines... shotguns... silencers... blackjacks... bayonets... and more... all detailed with their weight... that is not what the heart of this book is about. The absolute soul of this story is about *THE-UNWEIGHED-FEAR* that engulfed each man.

  • Excellent writing...nuf said.
    From Amazon

    This book is great craft. I don't care much for war fiction but will endure it when the writing is fine enough. See also Slaughterhouse 5 by Vonnegut

  • An Unforgettable Combination of Truth and Reality
    From Amazon

    THE THINGS THEY CARRIED is Tim O'Brien's beautiful, anguished collection of linked stories about Vietnam. In it, he blends diverse voices and events into an unforgettable portrayal of war and the people who fight it. Mingling fact with fiction, telling and retelling events from different points of view, the book is as much about war as it is about the difference between truth and reality. "In many cases a true war story cannot be believed," he writes. "If you believe it, be skeptical. It's a question of credibility. Often the crazy stuff is true and the normal stuff isn't, because the normal stuff is necessary to make you believe the truly incredible craziness." As an example, take the story titled "Sweetheart of the Song Tra Bong." In it, a young soldier named Mark Fossie is assigned to a medical detachment near a river called the Song Tra Bong. Also occupying the camp are a group of six Green Berets with whom the rest of the camp has little contact. Lonely and tired of the war, Mark concocts a plot to bring his girlfriend, Mary Anne Bell, to their camp. His friends think he's kidding, but one day she arrives. And she stays. At first she and Mark are inseparable, but gradually she becomes entranced with the country and fascinated by the war. She begins going out on patrol with the Green Berets, and one day she disappears into the mountains and is never seen again. Fact? Fiction? Both? O'Brien convinces us it could have happened, but almost in the same breath he hints that it is pure fable. It is one of the most fascinating stories in the book, all the more so because it is impossible to know the truth. Read the book, and decide for yourself if it happened, could have happened, or is just one of those crazy war stories that could never have happened.

  • War and Memory
    From Amazon

    If you're looking for a fast action plot/character driven book, you are going to be disappointed with this book. The book doesn't have an obvious plot, and it's told from a distance and detached perspective. If you looking to experience the Vietnam war by reading a book, you'll better off reading a non-fiction recollection. This book works on the psychological level, rather than a suspense or factual level. The author also writes in what I would call a minimalist writing style, so the sentences are short and one has to read between the lines. For example in chapter one, the author keeps repeating the things the men carried. The author is not only speaking of the physical things they carried, but also speaking of the psychological baggage they carry. So from the start, the reader knows they'll need to exert some effort when reading this book. For me this is not a book about the Vietnam War, but a book about war and memory. Like memory, the narrative is not linear. Each chapter is like a short story about the war from different angles and perspectives. Many readers may not like the fact that these stories are a work of fiction. The problem with memory is not even non-fiction books are 100% factual. Perception is not necessarily reality. Recently there was a study on memory done, which concluded that each time a memory is retrieved the individual will add something to the memory that wasn't there originally. The more a memory is revisited the more "fiction" is added to the memory as if it were true. So from that perspective the book works for me.

  • I put off reading this since the original release in 1990. Don't make the same mistake
    From Amazon

    One of my college professors, who I think was a Vietnam vet, loved this book and recommended it highly to us. Maybe it was having seen "Platoon" "Full Metal Jacket" and other Vietnam-based films a couple of years earlier that made me avoid it, despite the fantastic reviews. Maybe it seemed too far removed from my own life. Either way, I should not have waited so long. The 20th anniversary edition was a reminder that this book deeply affected a lot of people I knew who read it back in 1990. I guess America being in the midst of two wars also made me think about what our troops are going through on a daily basis. Some things are Universal. And my sense is there are as many stories about war as there are people who have fought them over the centuries. The Things They Carried only confirms this to me. Another reviewer described Tim O'Brien's writing, pretty accurately, as "quiet precision." To me that's what makes them interesting and unique. You lose yourself in the story you're reading, not in the prose of the man who wrote them. The stories will stop you. THey will make you think - about life, about those who've gone before, those who have died, in this particular case in a senseless war that many Americans still seem focused on winning. Personally, I found myself wondering about the loss of promise and about how the decisions of our leaders - right or wrong decisions, depending on the war - affect the lives of average people just trying to live their lives. Some of those decisions scar or build, while others becomes ghosts of the past, living only in memories of their loved ones and of writers like Tim O'Brien who present them as an undefined mix of truth and literature.

Working on your request