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Tim OBrien a contemporary American novelist and short story writer of immense imaginative power freely admits that the Vietnam War was the dark jarring experience that made him a writer OBrien served in Vietnam with the Fifth Battalion Forty-six infantry from January 1969 to March 1970 He patrolled some of the most active and brutal sites of the war and it definitely showed in the settings of his writing Before his induction into the army OBrien felt traumatized on the decision of whether to stay in the United States or to flee to Canada He finally convinced himself to go for the reason that it was his duty OBrien returned to America sound of mind and body if not in spirit He wrote of his war experience in a spare poetically elusive and classically toned personal memoirMyers 140 Thomas Myers states that OBrien examines the wrenching transformation of sense and sensibility in fictions that are evocative challenging meetings of imagination and memory of the created and the recreated of the impossible and the possibleMyers140 OBrien uses much of Hemmingways style in his work- despair rhythmic repetition of key words and phrases the hard discipline control of idea and emotion in sentences and paragraphs that are models of the stoic understatement the darkly ironic gestures and the classical imperatives of courage and cowardliness transgression and expiation of Hemmingways best stories and novels OBrien is a natural storyteller who can spin a tale with the best of them He is also a figure who would cast off from safe harbors and dive deeply into the primal American soul and psyche OBrien explores a few specific subjects and themes the continual interplay of fact and imagination in fiction and in life the compulsive absurd noble quest for human truth the difficulty in defining and obtaining the elusive quality of courage and the ongoing human need for the fragile made up explanatory device we call story OBriens prime
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