My rating: 4 of 5 stars
When is a war story more than a war story? This is a writing tour de force by Vietnam vet and author Tim O'Brien which makes for a challenging and satisfying read if one goes with its flow and immerses oneself in it.
In moments of relative quiet and calm while on nightime guard duty by the seashore, the story's main character, a young American grunt foot soldier, Paul Berlin, attempts to make sense of the chaos and trauma he experiences during his tour of duty in Vietnam. His flights of fantasy manifest as the story of a group of soldiers following a deserter all the way to Paris.
O'Brien's writing explores imagination, how we tell stories in order to make sense of confusion, chaos, and its aftermath, both to ourselves and ultimately to those back home whom we love who thankfully never experienced the horror, or had to deal with the trauma.
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