When I read the first chapter of the novel, I understood it as fiction since the point of view and the narrative style all combine into a story like piece of work. However, as I kept flipping through the pages I began to think of the novel as a mix between nonfiction and fiction, and I was (more than) a little bit confused… The first person point of view in places and the memoir like feel pointed to autobiography, while the engaging plots, colorful characters, and the general tone of the novel made it seem like stories conjured by the author. Now after watching several interviews with Tim O’Brien, I can safely say we should open a new shelf in the library called “O’Brien”, where autobiographies are disguised as fictions.
I agree on O’Brien’s point that through stories, readers become more engaged in the events and have a more personal feeling toward what is happening than merely reading formal news and dry history textbooks. Through stories, the war gains depth. As O’Brien said, the novel is not just about the war, it is about love, peace, and man’s inner self, and more. Such novels makes readers think and analyze and come to their own conclusions, a characteristic that media news cannot match.