July, July Review
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July, July isn’t the standard fare from Tim O’Brien. In this novel, he departs from his well plowed thematic ground—Vietnam vets—and 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.

O’Brien 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
lass flirt 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 O’Brien has an incredible grasp of the things that go on in people’s heads and can bring them to paper in a way that very few writers can. He is without a doubt America’s foremost living fiction writer. He doesn’t 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.

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