Tim O'Brien received the 1979 National Book Award in Fiction for Going After Cacciato. His novel The Things They Carried won France's prestigious Prix de Meilleur Livre Etranger and the Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize. His two most recent novels, In the Lake of the Woods and Tomcat in Love, were national bestsellers.
This biography was last updated on 01/01/2011.
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Tim O'Brien discusses his comic-novel
Tomcat in Love
You said after finishing your last novel, In the Lake of the Woods,
that you would never write another novel. What changed your mind?
I did not set out to write another novel. One day I sat down with the thought of trying my hand at a piece of nonfiction, a personal memoir of youth, but over the next several weeks, without intending it, the work began evolving into what has become Tomcat in Love. How this occurred I am not entirely sure. At one point, I began inventing bits of dialogue, straying from a strict representation of fact. At another point, after composing maybe fifteen pages, I called my editor to ask if I might exaggerate a few incidents and invent other incidents to strengthen the narrative and to fill in the gaps of a faulty memory. Finally, several weeks later, I surrendered to my own imagination and called my editor to confess that I was at work on a new novel.
The subject matter of this novel is serious: betrayal, the loss of love, revenge, and redemption. How did you manage to write a comic novel about the often painful obsession of love?
Yes, the raw materials of Tomcat in Love are serious in the extreme. And I consider ...
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