THE THINGS THEY CARRIED by Tim O’Brien

THE THINGS THEY CARRIED

KIRKUS REVIEW

It's being called a novel, but it is more a hybrid: short-stories/essays/confessions about the Vietnam War--the subject that O'Brien reasonably comes back to with every book. Some of these stories/memoirs are very good in their starkness and factualness: the title piece, about what a foot soldier actually has on him (weights included) at any given time, lends a palpability that makes the emotional freight (fear, horror, guilt) correspond superbly. Maybe the most moving piece here is "On The Rainy River," about a draftee's ambivalence about going, and how he decided to go: "I would go to war--I would kill and maybe die--because I was embarrassed not to." But so much else is so structurally coy that real effects are muted and disadvantaged: O'Brien is writing a book more about earnestness than about war, and the peekaboos of this isn't really me but of course it truly is serve no true purpose. They make this an annoyingly arty book, hiding more than not behind Hemingwayesque time-signatures and puerile repetitions about war (and memory and everything else, for that matter) being hell and heaven both. A disappointment.
Pub Date: March 28th, 1990
ISBN: 0618706410
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 1990




THE BOOKS OF WORLD BOOK NIGHT 2012:

Children WINTERGIRLS by Laurie Halse Anderson
by Laurie Halse Anderson
Fiction ENDER'S GAME by Orson Scott Card
by Orson Scott Card
Fiction LITTLE BEE by Chris Cleave
by Chris Cleave

MORE BY TIM O’BRIEN

FictionJULY, JULY by Tim O’Brien
by Tim O’Brien
FictionTOMCAT IN LOVE by Tim O’Brien
by Tim O’Brien
FictionIN THE LAKE OF THE WOODS by Tim O’Brien
by Tim O’Brien

SIMILAR BOOKS SUGGESTED BY OUR CRITICS:

FictionBRIEF ENCOUNTERS WITH THE ENEMY by Saïd Sayrafiezadeh
by Saïd Sayrafiezadeh
IndieFINDING TRANQUILITY BASE by Janet Rebhan
by Janet Rebhan
IndieThe Calypso Wolf by Leo R. Aalund
by Leo R. Aalund