Meaning of O'BRIEN, TIM in English

O'BRIEN, TIM

born Oct. 1, 1946, Austin, Minn., U.S. in full William Timothy O'Brien American novelist noted for his writings about American soldiers in the Vietnam War. After studying political science at Macalester College, St. Paul, Minnesota (B.A., 1968), O'Brien fought in Vietnam. When he returned to the United States, he studied intermittently at Harvard University and worked for the Washington Post (197174) as an intern and reporter. He collected his newspaper and magazine articles about his war experiences in his first book, If I Die in a Combat Zone, Box Me Up and Ship Me Home (1973). By turns meditative and brutally realistic, it was praised for its honest portrayal of a soldier's emotions. The Vietnam War is present in many of O'Brien's novels. One of the two protagonists in Northern Lights (1975) is a wounded war hero. Set in an isolated, snow-covered part of Minnesota during a disastrous cross-country ski trip, the novel is an examination of courage. In Going After Cacciato (1978), a soldier abandons his platoon in Vietnam to try to walk to Paris, and a fellow soldier escapes the war's horrors by inventing elaborate fantasies about his journey. A man's lifelong fear of dying from a nuclear bombing is the subject of The Nuclear Age (1981), while The Things They Carried (1990) and In the Lake of the Woods (1994) return to the subject of the experiences and effects of the Vietnam War. O'Brien's writing took a new turn with publication of Tomcat in Love (1999), a nuanced comic novel about the search for love.

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