David Means
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ISBN 9780571330119 Format Hardback
Published 26/05/2016 Length 352 pages

About Book


At the bitter end of the 1960s, after surviving multiple assassination attempts, President John F. Kennedy has created a vast federal agency, the Psych Corps, dedicated to maintaining the nation's mental hygiene by any means necessary. Soldiers returning from Vietnam have their battlefield traumas "enfolded"-wiped from their memories through drugs and therapy-while veterans too damaged to be enfolded roam at will in Michigan, evading the Psych Corps and reenacting atrocities on civilians.

This destabilized, alternate version of American history is the vision of the twenty-two-year-old veteran Eugene Allen, who has returned from Vietnam to write the book at the center of Hystopia, the long-awaited first novel by David Means. In Hystopia, Means brings his full talent to bear on the crazy reality of trauma, both national and personal. Outlandish and tender, funny and violent, timely and historical, Hystopia invites us to consider whether our traumas can ever be truly overcome. The answers it offers are wildly inventive, deeply rooted in its characters, and wrung from the author's own heart.

  • About David Means

    David Means is the author of A Quick Kiss of Redemption, Assorted Fire Events, and The Secret Goldfish. His work has appeared in The New Yorker, Harper's, Zeotrope and Best American Short Stories. He lives in Nyack, New York, and teaches at Vassar College.

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