THE POST-WAR DREAM

Mitch Cullin

 Hollis and Debra have settled into their golden years in a gated community outside of Tucson. Although they are devoted to each other, events that took place decades earlier have left Hollis with a deep-seated traumaand with a secret he has never been able to share with his wife. When Debra is diagnosed with cancer, she makes her husband a simple request–”Tell me about us”–which forces Hollis to revisit his past.

In 1950, Hollis fought in the Korean War alongside the bigoted but charismatic Bill McCreedy. McCreedy seems to have it all,

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 Hollis and Debra have settled into their golden years in a gated community outside of Tucson. Although they are devoted to each other, events that took place decades earlier have left Hollis with a deep-seated traumaand with a secret he has never been able to share with his wife. When Debra is diagnosed with cancer, she makes her husband a simple request–”Tell me about us”–which forces Hollis to revisit his past.

In 1950, Hollis fought in the Korean War alongside the bigoted but charismatic Bill McCreedy. McCreedy seems to have it all, although he is a mercurial soldier whose ungovernable behavior is often at odds with what Hollis believes to be right. Now, years later, Hollis is haunted by memories of McCreedy and his own wartime actions that he had tried to suppress. These recollections eventually lead him from the body-strewn battlefields of Korea to the remote farmhouse in Texas where McCreedy had grown upand for the first time he finds himself examining his and Debra’s life to understand how chance had played a hand in bringing them together.

Mitch Cullin, one of today’s most celebrated young novelists, captures some of the most difficult themes in literature: fate, love, and death. The Post-War Dream is literary fiction of the highest order.

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  • Nan A. Talese
  • Hardcover
  • March 2008
  • 256 Pages
  • 9780385513296

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$24.00

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About Mitch Cullin

 Mitch Cullin is the author of six books, including Tideland and Branches, a novel-in-verse. He lives in California’s San Gabriel Valley, where in addition to writing fiction, he collaborates on various projects with the artist Peter I. Chang.

Praise

“Cullin is an unusually sophisticated theorist of human nature.”
—The New York Times Book Review

“In this exacting, suspenseful, elegiac yet life-embracing novel, Cullin reminds us that no boundaries separate the personal and communal, the past and present, the false and true.”
—Los Angeles Times

“Cullin’s brilliantly clear descriptions of both emotions and landscape give this story a near-mystical feel.” —Booklist

“This touching, quintessentially American story of marriage, aging, and the fading Greatest Generation is enhanced by poetic prose, vivid accounts of war, and sympathetic characters whom many of us will find familiar.”Library Journal

Discussion Questions

Do you think that Hollis would suffer from the traumatic flashbacks of his time in the Korean War if he were not faced with his wife’s illness and probable death?

Why is it so important for Debra to have Hollis “tell her about us?” Do you think that each spouse has a different version of their story of courtship and marriage?

How does the recurring cycle of war in our country’s history affect each generation?

What constitutes a good marriage? Do Hollis and Debra have a good marriage?

Do you believe in chance? How did chance play a role in bringing Debra and Hollis together?

Do you fear loss? What do you consider worse: loss of love, hope, youth?

Do you consider Hollis’ life a dream or nightmare? How does memory affect each version?