Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Book Review: The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien

This was in my queue a long time before I listened to it, because I knew it would be hard to hear. O'Brien's book must be one of the classic texts about the Vietnam War, and hearing it read aloud by Brian Cranston is the right way to experience it. Not only does this narrative (if I can call it that) transfer the chaos and maddening threat of that conflict into your experience, but it also jumps around in time and diverges into meditations on the nature of writing, experience, life, and death. Despite the harrowing, unfinished, nakedly evil depiction of war, there is life, which makes the evil more painful, if anything. The way the book ends surprised me with what I can only call its dark innocence or winter light. So it was a hard book to read but also, clearly, a necessary book to understand the war that warped our country. 

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