Monday, March 17, 2014

The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien (audio)

"They carried the sky.  The whole atmosphere, they carried it, the humidity, the monsoons, the stink of fungus and decay, all of it, they carried gravity."

"A true war story is never moral.  It does not instruct, nor encourage virtue, nor suggest models of proper human behavior, nor restrain men from doing the things men have always done.  If a story seems moral, do not believe it.  If at the end of a war story you feel uplifted, of if you feel that some small bit of rectitude has been salvaged from the larger waste, then you have been made the victim of a very old and terrible life.  There is not rectitude whatsoever.  There is no virtue.  As a first rule of thumb, therefore, you tell a true war story by its absolute and uncompromising allegiance to obscenity and evil."

Goodreads description: "They carried malaria tablets, love letters, 28-pound mine detectors, dope, illustrated bibles, each other. And if they made it home alive, they carried unrelenting images of a nightmarish war that history is only beginning to absorb. Since its first publication, The Things They Carried has become an unparalleled Vietnam testament, a classic work of American literature, and a profound study of men at war that illuminates the capacity, and the limits, of the human heart and soul."

This book was extremely well-written and very powerful.  I listened to the audio book in less than four days and it drew me in from the beginning.  I loved Tim O'Brien's narrative writing style and how the book presented different stories from the same platoon of soldiers in the Vietnam War.  The fact that the stories jumped back and forth between pre-war, war, and post-war made the stories even more intriguing.  I've been meaning to read this book for awhile and I'm so glad I did.  Plus it's my fiance's favorite book and he doesn't read - that has to count for something, right?

This book was #9 on my top ten list of 2014.

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