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Going after Cacciato

O'Brien, Tim

9,734 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0224016261 / ISBN 13: 9780224016261
Published by Jonathan Cape, London, 1978
Condition: Very Good+ Hardcover
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About this Item

Nice and tight, but soiling to top and bottom page edges. Price clipped. Bookseller Inventory # 32158

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Going after Cacciato

Publisher: Jonathan Cape, London

Publication Date: 1978

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition: Very Good+

Dust Jacket Condition: Very Good+

Edition: First British Edition

About this title

Synopsis:

Winner of the National Book Award, `Going After Cacciato' captures the peculiar mixture of horror and hallucination that marked the Vietnam War, this strangest of wars. In a blend of reality and fantasy, this novel tells the story of a young soldier who one day lays down his rifle and sets off on a quixotic journey from the jungles of Indochina to the streets of Paris. In its memorable evocation of men both fleeing from and meeting the demands of battle, `Going After Cacciato' stands as much more than just a great war novel. Ultimately it's about the forces of fear and heroism that do battle in the hearts of us all.

Review:

"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

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