Going After Cacciato

  • by Tim O'Brien
  • Narrated by Kevin T. Collins
  • 12 hrs and 8 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

"To call Going After Cacciato a novel about war is like calling Moby-Dick a novel about whales."
So wrote The New York Times of Tim O'Brien's now classic novel of Vietnam. Winner of the 1979 National Book Award, Going After Cacciato captures the peculiar mixture of horror and hallucination that marked this strangest of wars. In a blend of reality and fantasy, this novel tells the story of a young soldier who one day lays down his rifle and sets off on a quixotic journey from the jungles of Indochina to the streets of Paris.
In its memorable evocation of men both fleeing from and meeting the demands of battle, Going After Cacciato stands as much more than just a great war novel. Ultimately, it's about the forces of fear and heroism that do battle in the hearts of us all.

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What the Critics Say

"As a fictional portrait of this war, Going After Cacciato is hard to fault, and will be hard to better." (John Updike, The New Yorker)
"Simply put, the best novel written about the war. I do not know... any writer, journalist, or novelist who does not concede that position to O'Brien's Going After Cacciato." (Miami Herald)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Shadow Sculpture Built out of War's Debris

"These were hard lessons, true, but they were lessons of ignorance: ignorant men, trite truths. What remained was a simple event. The facts, the physical things. A war like any war. No new messages. Stories that began and ended without transition. No developing drama or tension or direction. No order."

At the level of the grunt, the soldier, the dirt and the blood, who wouldn't want to run? Who wouldn't fantasize about just dropping everything and leaving the madness of war, the insanity of the Army, the brutality of killing and instead take an 8500+ mile trip to Gay Paree?

It seems a rational choice: to choose freedom, happiness, liberty. To say cut it, cork it and just run. Leave the swamps of uncertainty, death, and fear behind you. Become a refugee from the carnage of Vietnam. Seek to relocate your tired ass to a place where dumb muthers aren't trying to shoot you. Find some piece of Earth where you aren't sleeping in holes, crawling into tunnels, worrying about whether the bullet that gets you will be audible. Get the hell out of Dodge.

If that was the extent of this novel's vision, it would be a pretty damn good book, but O'Brien tweaks it. He doesn't go for the easy answers. For every tick he gives you a tock. He finds ambiguity everywhere, conflict over each hill. It isn't a simple moral point to stay or go, to fight or to run. War has its own reality. It will exhaust you and then follow up. This confrontation with fear, death, loyalty, morality, friendship, leading, following, is key. The key to this novel is conflict. The conflict is key.

With lyrical beauty, flashbacks, and a magical realism that I've never experienced in a novel about the Vietnam War, O'Brien spins a story that is just that: a yarn, a spin, a giant fantasy race, a road movie, a Moby-Dick, a Danse Macabre, a metaphysical and very modern dance. It is a story of the good, the bad; those who run and those who follow. It is a literary shadow sculpture built out of the debris of war, the stories and cast-offs (the living and the dead).
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- Darwin8u "I write for myself, for my own pleasure. And I want to be left alone to do it. - Salinger ^(;,;)^"

Going To Sleep

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

I thought this might be a riveting novel based upon early hype. It's not. I fell asleep so much I couldn't follow the thread. You HAVE to want to listen to this book.


Would you ever listen to anything by Tim O'Brien again?

Not sure.


What didn’t you like about Kevin T. Collins’s performance?

He didn't have anything to work with and didn't do anything to help it.


What character would you cut from Going After Cacciato?

That isn't the point. The book is a flop about Vietnam and the veterans who served and fought there.


Any additional comments?

Pick another book.

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- Michele "Golfher"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 11-22-2011
  • Publisher: Audible Studios