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"In October, near the end of the month, Cacciato left the war."
In Tim O'Brien's novel Going After Cacciato the theater of war becomes the theater of the absurd as a private deserts his post in Vietnam, intent on walking 8,000 miles to Paris for the peace talks. The remaining members of his squad are sent after him, but what happens then is anybody's guess: "The facts were simple: They went after Cacciato, they chased him into the mountains, they tried hard. They cornered him on a small grassy hill. They surrounded the hill. They waited through the night. And at dawn they shot the sky full of flares and then they moved in.... That was the end of it. The last known fact. What remained were possibilities."
It is these possibilities that make O'Brien's National Book Award-winning novel so extraordinary. Told from the perspective of squad member Paul Berlin, the search for Cacciato soon enters the realm of the surreal as the men find themselves following an elusive trail of chocolate M&M's through the jungles of Indochina, across India, Iran, Greece, and Yugoslavia to the streets of Paris. The details of this hallucinatory journey alternate with feverish memories of the war--men maimed by landmines, killed in tunnels, engaged in casual acts of brutality that would be unthinkable anywhere else. Reminiscent of Joseph Heller's Catch-22, Going After Cacciato dishes up a brilliant mix of ferocious comedy and bleak horror that serves to illuminate both the complex psychology of men in battle and the overarching insanity of war. --Alix Wilber
"Simply put, the best novel written about the war. I do not know . . . any writer, journalist, or novelist who does not concede that position to O'Brien's Going After Cacciato."
"A novel of great beauty and importance."
"Stark . . . rhapsodic. . . . It is a canvas painted vividly, hauntingly, disturbingly by Tim O'Brien."
--Los Angeles Times
"As a fictional portrait of this war, Going After Cacciato is hard to fault, and will be hard to better."
--John Updike, The New Yorker
Tim O'Brien reaches inside the characters and portrays the horrific landscape of war as few writers are able. Read morePublished 8 months ago by BB
This is a different kind of war story, one that women can read without being grossed out by all the guy stuff. Read morePublished on Jan. 9 2004 by Peggy Vincent
This was a boring book to read. It was confusing by flipping between story lines. By the end of the book I just wanted to get it over with. Read morePublished on Oct. 23 2003
School decided to suggest this book. It was the ONLY war novel on a list of like 30, mabye 20 books. So I decided to get it. Read morePublished on Sept. 10 2003 by mdizzog
I had never read anything by Tim O'Brien before "Going After Cacciato", and I had high hopes for this novel ... Unfortunately, I was very disappointed. Read morePublished on April 11 2003 by Kristen Mitchell
This book was very typical Tim O Brien and I thoroughly enjoyed the action as well as the emotional ordeals that the author puts the characters through. Read morePublished on Jan. 21 2003 by ironcitizen
The main character, Paul Berlin, was a regular kid that was floating through life without clear purpose. Read morePublished on Jan. 4 2003 by Stephen J. Wasser
This is a decent Vietnam story. If you want a gory book like the movies make it this is not for you, however- if you want a book that has an original plot and good characters, read... Read morePublished on Nov. 19 2002 by M. Loring