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Tim O'Brien at the 2009 National Book Festival. Photo by Tom Roster

In honor of Memorial Day, what better novel to turn to than Tim O?Brien?s The Things They Carried. In this excerpt from the Big Read Audio Guide, O?Brien speaks about the power of a novel to translate deep and personal experiences:

The goal of The Things They Carried is to, in a large part, is to make readers feel something of what I felt all those years ago and after returning from the war, in that a thirty second clip on CNN can?t and doesn?t aspire to.  The way newspaper stories are not gonna make you feel what it is to be frustrated by never being able to find the enemy, and having man after man die and another man die, and another man die, and another man lose his legs and you can?t find anything to shoot back at, and you don?t believe in the war anyway.

Take a look at the NEA?s The Things They Carried Audio Guide for more insight into the novel from O?Brien, as well as Andrew Carroll, Max Paul Friedman, and Alice McDermott, among others.

If you want to hear more from Tim O?Brien, click here for an interview with O?Brien by Terry Gross.

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