The Things They Carried won France's prestigious Prix du Meilleur Livre Etranger and the Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize; it was also a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award.
“We are all writing our maybe books full of maybe tomorrows, and each maybe tomorrow brings another maybe tomorrow, and then another, until the last line of the last page receives its period.”
In 2003, already an older father, National Book Award–winning novelist Tim O’Brien resolved to give his young sons what he wished his own father had given to him—a few scraps of paper signed “Love, Dad.” Maybe a word of advice. Maybe a sentence or two about some long-ago Christmas Eve. Maybe some scattered glimpses of their rapidly aging father, a man they might never really know. For the next fifteen years, the author talked to his sons on paper, as if they were adults, imagining what they might want to hear from a father who was no longer among the living.
O’Brien traverses the great variety of human experience and emotion, moving from soccer games to warfare to risqué lullabies, from alcoholism to magic shows to history lessons to bittersweet bedtime stories, but always returning to a father’s soul-saving love for his sons.
The result is Dad’s Maybe Book, a funny, tender, wise, and enduring literary achievement that will squeeze the reader’s heart with joy and recognition.
Between Camelots is about the struggle to forge relationships and the spaces that are left when that effort falls short. In the title story, a man at a backyard barbecue waits for a blind date who never shows up. He meets a stranger who advises him to give up the fight; to walk away from intimacy altogether and stop getting hurt. The wisdom—or foolhardiness—of that approach is at the heart of each of these stories. In “I’ll Be Home,” a young man who has converted to Judaism goes home for Christmas in Miami, and finds that his desire to connect to his parents conflicts with his need to move on. “The Movements of the Body” introduces us to a woman who believes that she can control the disintegration of her life through a carefully measured balance of whiskey and mouthwash. These are stories about loss and fear, but also about the courage that drives us all to continue to reach out to the people around us.
“A deeply soulful novel that comprehends love and cruelty, and separates the big people from the small of heart, without ever losing sympathy for those unfortunates who don’t know how to live properly.” —Zadie Smith
One of the most important and enduring books of the twentieth century, Their Eyes Were Watching God brings to life a Southern love story with the wit and pathos found only in the writing of Zora Neale Hurston. Out of print for almost thirty years—due largely to initial audiences’ rejection of its strong black female protagonist—Hurston’s classic has since its 1978 reissue become perhaps the most widely read and highly acclaimed novel in the canon of African-American literature.