In Tim O’Brien’s Going after Cacciato, the main character Paul Berlin fantasizes a young Vietnamese refugee named Sarkin Aung Wan. Berlin conjures Wan from generic conventions from the western, the romance, the war story, and most originally in O’Brien scholarship, contemporary depictions of the National Liberation Front’s female peace negotiator Nguyen Thi Binh. This essay suggests that by drawing attention to Wan as a product of Berlin’s imagination, the novel produces a metafictional construction of authorship and an imaginative construction of cross-gender identification that distance the novel from gender ideologies traditionally associated with war fiction.


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