Tobias Wolff has written a brief yet powerful tale concerning a young man awaiting deployment to Vietnam. During his wait at Fort Bragg, a thief emerges, stealing from his fellow troops. The tale goes on to offer reactions to the thefts, then, in true original Wolff style, switches perspective half way through to give insight into the motivations of the thief himself. Finally, the book finishes with its original perspective, offering a tight and satisfying conclusion.
Wolff is an expert at cutting to the heart of his characters, sometimes with very little narrative at all, but his stories always resonate with the reader far after the book has been finished. The Barracks Thief is no exception, and I believe it is a superb commentary on how most of us feel alone even when surrounded by throngs of people.