The Things They Carried

Tim O'Brien, Author, Bryan Cranston, Performed by
Tim O’Brien, read by Bryan Cranston. Brilliance Audio, unabridged, seven CDs, 8 hrs., $19.99 ISBN 978-1-4558-5159-1
Reviewed on: 03/31/2014
Release date: 11/01/2013
Compact Disc - 978-1-4558-5163-8
MP3 CD - 978-1-4558-5167-6
MP3 CD - 978-1-4915-1251-7
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O’Brien’s collection of short stories, which he describes as fiction, is one of the most seminal works about the Vietnam War. It follows grunts trudging through hostile country and describes, as one might surmise from the title, the things they carried. These artifacts—comics, possible love letters, Bibles, photographs, and compasses, as well as the necessary array of military items—reflect the character of each man and the world in which he exists as a soldier. Narrator Cranston provides a fine performance in this audio edition. He has a gravelly, rich voice that’s perfect for the material. As he embodies different soldiers, Cranston’s voice alternates between melancholic, wistful, disaffected, and resigned. He’s less successful, however, when voicing female characters. However, these instances are rare, as O’Brien’s text largely focuses on the interior workings of the soldiers on the ground. (Nov.)
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