39 Following


Currently reading

Helen Cooper, Charlotte Brontë
Parade's End (Vintage Classics)
Ford Madox Ford
Going After Cacciato - Tim O'Brien Paul Berlin goes to Vietnam and falls through a rabbit hole on a mission to bring back a member of his squad who's gone AWOL -- to Paris. Brilliant, hallucinatory and hypnotic, the narrative jumps around, jumbling continuity, reality, fear, duty and dreams as it deftly and completely messes with your head. Possibly the best novel about the war in Vietnam I've read, so far."He [Paul Berlin:] didn't know who was right, or what was right; he didn't know if it was a war of self-determination or self-destruction, outright aggression or national liberation; he didn't know which speeches to believe, which books, which politicians; he didn't know who really started the war, or why, or when, or with what motives; he didn't know if it mattered; he saw sense in both sides of the debate, but he did not know where truth lay; he didn't know if communist tyranny would prove worse in the long run than the tyrannies of Ky or Thieu or Khanh -- he simply didn't know. And who did? Who really did? Oh, he had read the newspapers and magazines. He wasn't stupid. He wasn't uninformed. He just didn't know if the war was right or wrong or somewhere in the murky middle. And who did? Who really knew? So he went to the war for reasons beyond knowledge. Because he believed in law, and law told him to go. Because it was a democracy, after all, and because LBJ and others had rightful claim to their offices. He went to the war because it was expected. Because not to go was to risk censure, and to bring embarrassment on his father and his town. Because, not knowing, he saw no reason to distrust those with more experience. Because he loved his country and, more than that, because he trusted it. Yes, he did. Oh, he would rather have fought with his father in France, knowing certain things certainly, but he couldn't choose his war, nobody could. Was this so banal? Was this so unprofound and stupid? He would look the little girl with gold earrings straight in the eye. He would tell her these things. He would ask her to see the matter his way. What would she have done? What would anyone have done, not knowing?"