Tim O’Brien

Cindy Seip

Tim O’Brien, novels include The Things They Carried, Pulitzer Finalist and a New York Times Book of the Century; Going After Cacciato, which received the 1979 National Book Award in fiction and In the Lake of the Woods, winner of the James Fenimore Cooper Prize. In Dad’s Maybe Book (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) Tim O’Brien shares wisdom from a life in letters, lessons learned in wartime, and the challenges, humor, and rewards of raising two sons. In 2003, already an older father, O’Brien resolved to give his young sons what he wished his own father had given to him—a few scraps of paper signed “Love, Dad.” Maybe a word of advice. Maybe a sentence or two about some long-ago Christmas Eve. Maybe some scattered glimpses of their aging father, a man they might never really know. For the next fifteen years, the author talked to his sons on paper, as if they were adults, imagining what they might want to hear from a father who was no longer among the living. In the process, he traverses the great variety of human experience and emotion  — moving from soccer games to warfare, from alcoholism to magic shows, history lessons and bittersweet bedtime stories, always returning to a father’s soul-saving love for his sons.