Originally published in 1975, Tim O'Brien's debut novel demonstrates the emotional complexity and enthralling narrative tension that later earned him the National Book Award. At its core is the relationship between two brothers: one who went to Vietnam and one who stayed at home. As the two brothers struggle against an unexpected blizzard in Minnesota's remote north woods, what they discover about themselves and each other will change both of them for ever.
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Wide awake and restless, Paul Milton Perry clawed away the sheets and swung out of bed, blood weak, his fists clenching and closing like a pulse. He hadn't slept. He sat very still. He listened to the July heat, mosquitoes at the screen windows, inchworms eating in the back pines, the old house, a...
1. What is the relevance of the Revelation quote that begins the novel? Apocalyptic prophecy is a recurring motif throughout the novel. Do the prophecies of doom ever come true? If so, in what sense?
2. Paul frequently refers to himself, sarcastically, as "priceless." How does Paul measure his own self-...
"Northern Lights is a thrilling story . . . which can be read and enjoyed simply as an adventure story, but digs deeper than that."
"Gripping and convincing. . . . Northern Lights is an impressive first novel."
—Times Literary Supplement
"O'Brien writes superbly, he also has a wonderful ear for ordinary American idiom and the ability to fine-tune its innate rhythms, cadences, and imagery into an authentic popular poetry."
"Haunting. . . . Survival, courage, and heroes are examined beautifully and simply."