Fact to fiction novel remembers ‘The Things They Carried’

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Vietnam veteran Tim O’Brien turned fact into fiction in his war novel ‘The Things They Carried’ as he shared his war experience and a soldiers battle from within.

In the summer of 1968 author Tim O’Brien was like many young men in America struggling to come to grips in the war in Vietnam.

“On the one hand I loved my country and I wanted to do the right thing by my country and by my mom, dad, and hometown,” said Tim O’Brien. “On the other hand didn’t like the war in Vietnam.”

O’Brien would ultimately be drafted into service, and 40 years later he says he is still struggling to come to grips with the Vietnam War, but one thing that helps him cope are his fact to fiction war stories.

“As different as my war in Vietnam was from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq there are a lot of similarities,” said O’Brien. “Both were civil wars and that means no uniforms, who’s your enemy, and who do you kill? You don’t know until they’re shooting at you and by then it’s too late.”

O’Brien says his novels resonate with soldiers of all ages because it tries to put in perspective the things they carried back from the battlefield.

“I just tried to collapse it into a single really short story about the ultimate reality of war, which in the war is always about death, but to do it from the sense of responsibility or guilty that anyone who is human is going to feel,” said O’Brien. “I’m sure that those dead people on the other side didn’t want to be there anymore than I did.”

O’Brien says he is working on another fact to fiction war novel that he hopes to have published sometime in the next year.

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