Tim O'Brien biography

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Tim O'Brien
Photo: Timmy O'Brien

Tim O'Brien

Tim O'Brien Biography

Tim O'Brien was born in Austin, Minnesota October 1, 1946. When he was ten, his family, including a younger sister and brother, moved to Worthington, also in southern Minnesota. O'Brien earned his BA in 1968 in Political Science from Macalester College, where he was student body president. That same year he was drafted into the United States Army and was sent to Vietnam, where he served from 1969 to 1970 in 3rd Platoon, Company A, 5th Battalion, 46th Infantry Regiment. Upon completing his tour of duty O'Brien went to graduate school at Harvard University, and afterward received an internship at the Washington Post.

O' Brien is the author of a critically acclaimed collection of short stories, The Things They Carried. He is also known for his work, Going After Cacciato, that won National Book Award (1979). His novel Lake of the Woods won the James Fenimore Cooper Prize for Best Historical Fiction in 1995.

O Brien lives in central Texas with his family and teaches at Texas State University. He also conducts several workshops to MFA students in creative writing program.



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Interview

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 Tomcat a "serious novel"--just as serious, for ...

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Books by this Author

Books by Tim O'Brien at BookBrowse
Tomcat In Love jacket The Things They Carried jacket
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Readalikes

All the books below are recommended as readalikes for Tim O'Brien but some maybe more relevant to you than others depending on which books by the author you have read and enjoyed. So look for the suggested read-alikes by title linked on the right.
How we choose readalikes

  • Janet Evanovich

    Janet Evanovich

    Janet Evanovich (born Janet Schneider, 1943, in South River, New Jersey) began her career writing short contemporary romance novels under the pen name Steffie Hall, but became a #1 New York Times bestselling author writing a ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    Tomcat In Love

    Try:
    Metro Girl
    by Janet Evanovich

  • Mike Lupica

    Mike Lupica

    Mike Lupica is one of the most prominent sports writers in America. His longevity at the top of his field is based on his experience and insider's knowledge, coupled with a provocative presentation that takes an ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    Tomcat In Love

    Try:
    Bump and Run
    by Mike Lupica

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