Tim O'Brien's July,July

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"A poignant and powerful page-turner and a testament to a generation." -Publishers Weekly

"Brilliant shards of real life - humor, heartache, remembrance, and eroticism - all converge in July, July. This master chronicler of our times has won the battle for hearts and minds once again." -Jayne Ann Phillips

"July, July is a book for all seasons. Funny and poignant, it looks into the nature of our dreams and how fulfillment eludes us." -Edna O'Brien

"Involving and beautifully written … Once again, O'Brien proves he's capable of being one of our brightest and best novelists." -Kirkus (starred review)

"July, July is beautifully written, very moving, and very, very funny. It is also packed with some of the best characters I've read in a long time. A great book from one of America's greatest writers." -Roddy Doyle

"This stunning novel marks the coming into maturity of the generation that defined itself by its youth … An elegy, a reckoning, a chronicle of dashed hopes, July, July does what only Tim O'Brien could do." -James Carroll

Houghton Mifflin Company

Thirty-one years after the summer of ’69, the graduates of Darton Hall College reunite to drink,

dance, flirt, dream, confess, and confront a world dramatically different from that which they had once imagined.


In JULY, JULY, Tim O’Brien, America’s master storyteller of the Vietnam experience, turns his acute sensibility to new territory. Having expertly chronicled the life of soldiers in-country and veterans haunted by their memories, O’Brien expands his signature theme to encompass an entire generation. “The impacts of the American war in Vietnam,” O’Brien notes, “were felt not only by those who served in the military but by those at home. For every man who went to war, there were also countless sisters, girlfriends, wives, and mothers who paid their own heavy price.”

            In prose that is at once humorous and heart-wrenching, O’Brien explores the lives of the former students of Darton Hall College, gathered together under cardboard stars in a gymnasium in the heat of a July 2000 weekend. We meet Billy McMann, a draft dodger whose life in Canada

has fallen apart because of his love—and subsequent hatred—for Dorothy Stier. Dorothy, a well-off Reagan Republican, is still recovering from the cancer that claimed her left breast and from her decision to let Billy go to Winnipeg alone. Friends Jan Huebner and Amy Robinson down a pilfered bottle of vodka while commiserating about divorce, their moribund sex lives, and their generation’s lost innocence. The sexpot Spook Spinelli, unsatisfied with two husbands and two households, tests her fading charms on Marv Bertel, an overweight mop and broom magnate with a large but failing heart. Equally memorable are David Todd, the vet who lost a leg and a measure of his sanity alongside a river in Vietnam; Paulette Haslo, a defrocked minister; Marla Dempsey, a woman unable or too afraid to love; Ellie Abbott, a wife wracked with guilt; and Karen Burns and Harmon Osterberg, two classmates whose recent deaths hover over the reunion.

Revisiting an era that has long since vanished, these sharply drawn and unforgettable characters struggle with the surprising paths their lives have taken over the past three decades. Thrust together, they find that their emotions are as confused and complicated now as when they were younger. Their combined stories, sometimes painful, sometimes delightful, leave the reader both moved and spellbound by the indomitable power of the human spirit to renew itself and to endure.

            Yet beyond simply presenting the lives of memorable characters, JULY, JULY deftly examines a generation that set out in turbulent times to change the world but, older and scarred, must reconcile itself to a mundane and sometimes terrifying reality. “Thirty-one years ago,” O’Brien writes, “in the brutal spring of 1969, Amy Robinson and many others had lived beyond themselves, elevated by the times. There was good and evil. There was moral heat. But this was the year 2000, a new millennium, congeniality in public places, hope gone stale, morons become millionaires, and the gossip was about Ellie Abbott’s depression, Dorothy Stier’s breast cancer, Spook Spinelli’s successful double marriage and the fact that she seemed to be going for a triple that evening with either Marv Bertel or Billy McMann.”

            Entertaining, ambitious, tender, and insightful, JULY, JULY is a masterful exploration of the conflicting forces—idealism and resignation, love and loss, aging and regeneration—unleashed on a generation of men and women still living with the heartache of the Vietnam War. 

Tim O’Brien 

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 du Meilleur Livre Étranger and the Chicago Tribune’s Heartland Prize, and was chosen as one of the best books of 1990 by the New York Times Book Review. In the Lake of the Woods was named the best work of fiction in 1994 by Time and selected by the New York Times Book Review as one of the best books of the year. It also won the 1995 James Fenimore Cooper Prize for historical fiction, and, along with Tomcat in Love, O’Brien’s most recent novel, it was a national bestseller.

Let Me Do Your Website!



Do you know someone in the service?

See www.BlueStarServiceFlags.com

My Vietnam Related Websites:
Women in Vietnam ~ Read about ALL the women who served . . .
Dusty's Home Page ~ Poetry and prose by a woman who was a nurse in Vietnam
The Irish on the Wall ~ An effort to locate the Irish who died in Vietnam
Tim O'Brien's Home Page ~ National Book Award Winner and Americal Vet
Emily's Poetry ~ By a Red Cross Donut Dolly
Shrapnel in the Heart ~ The most moving book you will read on Vietnam
All About Vietnam    ~ An annotated bibliography of books about Vietnam for sale thru Amazon Worldwide!
Battle Dressing ~ The Journey of a Nurse in Vietnam
Project Hearts and Minds ~ Help put Viet Nam back together
Photos from a Holts' Military History Tour ~ My trip to Vietnam, February 1998

My Other Websites:
Maybe Later . . . ~ My Creative Nonfiction
Irish in Korea ~ Irish men and women who gave their lives in the Korean War
Literature of the Korean War ~ Don't let the literature be forgotten
Samuel Pepys ~ One of my favorite authors
Chicago Theatre Z - A ~ This is the best theater town in the country!
Soccer Literature ~ I'm a fan and I read
O'Leary Lantern ~ Fire! Fire! Fire!
Gil Thorp ~ THE Coach (apologies to The General!)
Norwich Terriers Rule! ~ Mine even have their own webcam!!!!
Poetry of the First World War ~ Owen, Hardy and others
Chi-COW-go ~ Cowz plus Commentary (this used to be a cow town)
Graham Fulton, Scottish Poet ~ Charles Manson Auditions for the Monkees
My Flag ~ My September 11 tribute

Other Important Websites:
The Truth About Caroline ~ a  really good Young Adult book by my niece, Stacey M. Lane Grosh
Remember Oklahoma City ~  The Civil Service and Military will NEVER forget!
Milton L. Olive III ~ Posthumous Medal of Honor Recipient


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Page last updated August 29, 2004