Tessa: I recently re-read one of my favourite books, The Things They Carried by Tim O’brien. This is a fictionalized but also autobiographical account of a young man’s experience in Alpha Company in the Vietnam war. O’brien’s masterful rendering of the young men’s struggles in this company draws the reader in as eyewitness to their daily lives. His contrast with the often mind-numbingly boring day to day routine, the camaraderie, the love, and the fear with the sometimes deliberate, as well as inadvertent acts of horror and violence, is what makes this book so powerful.
This is the second time I’ve read The Things They’ve Carried and it holds up in the second reading as well as the first. This short mention of the book doesn’t really do it justice but for those interested in war, particularly the Vietnam war, than this is certainly a ‘must read’. It is an incredibly humane book that provides eyewitness insight into the psychology of some of the men who fought, lived and died in the Vietnam war.
Tim O’brien has written numerous books but another one that I read and very much liked was In the Lake of the Woods , a wonderful psychological thriller which is about what happens when one wilfully chooses to forget about war.
If I had to go to a deserted island one or both of these books would be in my napsack. (if it made it through the storm that is!)