Tim 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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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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