In collections of short stories and essays -- The Things They Carried and If I Die in a Combat Zone, Box Me Up and Ship Me Home -- and in his novels -- most notably, the National Book Award-winning Going After Cacciato -- Tim O'Brien has established himself as a startling and authoritative voice on one of the darkest chapters in American history -- the Vietnam war.
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Also Known As:
William Timothy O’Brien
Date of Birth:
October 1, 1946
Place of Birth:
B.A., Macalester College, 1968; Graduate study at Harvard University
National Book Award for Going after Cacciato, 1979
|O'Brien's Latest||Published Works|
"The impacts of the American war in Vietnam," O'Brien notes, "were felt not only by those who served in the military but by those at home. For every man who went to war, there were sisters, girlfriends, wives, and mothers who paid their own heavy price." In his latest novel, O'Brien expands his territory as one of the premier Vietnam storytellers to explore these secondary veterans.
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If I Die in a Combat Zone, Box Me up and Ship Me Home (1973)|
Northern Lights (1975)
Going After Cacciato (1978)
The Nuclear Age (1981)
The Things They Carried (1990)
In the Lake of the Woods (1994)
Tomcat in Love (1998)
July, July (2002)
Tim O'Brien chronology
|The Identity Issue|
|When asked by The Atlantic Monthly if he considers himself a "Vietnam writer," O'Brien answered, "In a way I do and in a way I don't. It's like asking Toni Morrison, 'Do you view yourself as a black writer?' She's had a black experience and her characters are black people, but she'd look at you and have a little frown. And I'm sure Conrad would too if you said, 'You're a 'sea writer,' or Shakespeare if you called him a 'king writer.' They'd look at you funny, and the funny look would say 'yeah, on one level.'"|
|The Best Book to Read First||O'Brien's Fans|
|Going After Cacciato|
"To call Going After Cacciato a novel about war is like calling Moby Dick a novel about whales," said The New York Times of Tim O'Brien's watershed Vietnam novel. Winner of the 1979 National Book Award, the work is widely considered to be the book that put O'Brien on the literary map.
|The Things They Carried|
In their interviews with Barnes & Noble.com, 2002 National Book Award nominees Mark Costello and Martha McPhee both named O'Brien's The Things They Carried as one of their all-time favorite books. McPhee raves, "the precision with which [O'Brien] sees the world is devastatingly beautiful."
|Photo Marion Ettlinger||