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Jack was eleven when the berserkers loomed out of the fog and nabbed him. “It seems that things are stirring across the water,” the Bard had warned. “Ships are being built, swords are being forged.”
“Is that bad?” Jack had asked, for his Saxon village had never before seen berserkers.
“Of course. People don’t make ships and swords unless they intend to use them.”
The year is A.D. 793. In the next months, Jack and his little sister, Lucy, are enslaved by Olaf One-Brow and his fierce young shipmate, Thorgil. With a crow named Bold Heart for mysterious company, they are swept up into an adventure-quest that follows in the spirit of The Lord of the Rings.
Other threats include a willful mother Dragon, a giant spider, and a troll-boar with a surprising personality—to say…[more]
One of the first questions people ask about The Things They Carried is this: Is it a novel, or a collection of short stories? The title page refers to the book simply as “a work of fiction,” defying the conscientious reader’s need to categorize this masterpiece. It is both: a collection of interrelated short pieces which ultimately reads with the dramatic force and tension of a novel. Yet each one of the twenty-two short pieces is written with such care, emotional content, and prosaic precision that it could stand on its own.
The Things They Carried depicts the men of Alpha Company: Jimmy Cross, Henry Dobbins, Rat Kiley, Mitchell Sanders, Norman Bowker, Kiowa, and of course, the character Tim O’Brien who has survived his tour in Vietnam to become a father and writer at the age of forty-three. They battle the enemy (or maybe more the idea of the enemy), and occasionally each other. In their relationships…[more]
“To call Going After Cacciato a novel about war is like calling Moby Dick a novel about whales.”
So wrote The New York Times of Tim O’Brien’s now classic novel of Vietnam. Winner of the 1979 National Book Award, Going After Cacciato captures the peculiar blend of horror and hallucinatory comedy that marked this strangest of wars. Reality and fantasy merge in this fictional account of one private’s sudden decision to lay down his rifle and begin a quixotic journey from the jungles of Indochina to the streets of Paris. Will Cacciato make it all the way? Or will he be yet another casualty of a conflict that seems to have no end?
In its memorable evocation of men both fleeing and meeting the demands of battle, Going After Cacciato stands as much more than just a great war novel. Ultimately it’s about the forces of fear and heroism that do battle in the hearts of us all.