July, July isnt the standard fare from Tim OBrien. In this
novel, he departs from his well plowed thematic groundVietnam vetsand
heads out for a look at the American generation that came of age in 1969 and
what they have become. He deftly pulls together a dozen old friends and classmates
for a weekend of reminiscing, reveling, and revelations.
OBrien does carry over an ear for dialogue and a cast of very human characters
from his previous books. In this novel (set in 2000), the members of the Class
of 69 have become as diverse as any group of friends will after thirty
years. The Vietnam vet and the draft dodger are in the cast but he also includes
a wife recovering from breast cancer, a mop company CEO, and the c
who now has two husbands. All of these people have lives that are simultaneously
very normal and incredibly interesting. The reader very quickly becomes attached
to the characters and at the end of the book feels like a part of the Darton
Hall class of 1969.
Tim OBrien has an incredible grasp of the things that go on in peoples
heads and can bring them to paper in a way that very few writers can. He is
without a doubt Americas foremost living fiction writer. He doesnt
crank out a book a year like Grisham, Steele, and so many others, but what he
lacks in quantity he greatly makes up for in quality. As always the words fall
off the page as if the reader had thought of them first. His gift for prose
is uncanny. There is not a poorly placed word or ill turned phrase in the novel.
July, July is without a doubt the best book released this fall and quite
probably the best book released this year. You need to buy it and read it today.