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The Post-War Dream

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Sixty-eight-year-old Hollis and his wife Debra have settled into their golden years in a gated community outside of Tucson, Arizona. Although they are devoted to each other, events that took place decades earlier, when Hollis fought in the Korean War, have left him with a deep-seated trauma — and with a secret he has never been able to share with his wife. As a reluctant Hollis revisits his past after his wife becomes dangerously ill, we see just how much the years of war changed his life forever. In rapturous prose, Cullin captures in The Post-War Dream the complexity of a marriage and the indelible force of the past on one man's life.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

From Publishers Weekly

Nov 05, 2007 – Cullins's sterile eighth novel is the bleak dirge of Korean War vet Hollis Adams as he revisits the nightmarish past he has spent his life avoiding. The novel opens at Hollis's home in a golfing community in snow-covered Arizona, where Hollis dreams of processions of cattle and nomads wearing gas masks. Despite this surreal start, the book quickly becomes mired in the mundane: Hollis's wife, Debra, is ill with ovarian cancer and asks him to “tell me about us,” occasioning a reluctant retrospective of Hollis's time in Korea, where he served with a charismatic if callous Texan named McCreedy. After Hollis returns wounded from Korea, he tries to erase the memory of the war, mostly by drinking gin-and-DDT cocktails. Hollis quits the heavy drinking when he sees a vision of his ravaged self standing at the end of his bed; after sobering up, he goes to Texas and meets Debra, who provides Hollis with something to live for. Unfortunately, the narrative spends little time exploring Hollis and Debra's lives together or the other self that haunts Hollis, instead focusing largely on Hollis's retiree routines. Flashbacks to Korea provide welcome reprieve, but the reader never connects with Hollis or Debra, so their suffering feels muted, even as the narrative dives into stark tragedy.
The Post-War Dream
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  • $11.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Literary
  • Published: Mar 18, 2008
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Seller: Penguin Random House LLC
  • Print Length: 256 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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