Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Between the Lines: Erasing Memories

by Zinta Aistars

for WMUK 102.1 FM
Southwest Michigan's NPR affiliate

Between the Lines is my weekly radio show about books and writers with a Michigan connection. It airs every Tuesday at 7:50 a.m., 11:55 a.m., and 4:20 p.m. (or listen anytime online), on WMUK 102.1 FM, Southwest Michigan's NPR affiliate. I am the host of Between the Lines.

This week's guest: David Means

David Means

What if you could erase painful memories forever? But if you did, you lost the good memories as well as the bad? In his long-awaited novel, Hystopia (MacMillan, 2016), David Means creates an alternate history in which veterans returning from war have their trauma “enfolded” to erase painful memories.

But for some veterans, the process doesn't work because their trauma goes too deep. Means, who grew up in Kalamazoo, sets the novel in Michigan although he now lives in New York.
Means, who teaches at Vassar College, is the author of four short story collections:A Quick Kiss of RedemptionThe SpotAssorted Fire Events (which won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for fiction); and The Secret Goldfish that was short- listed for the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Prize. Hystopia is his first novel.
It's written from the point of view of a Vietnam veteran who returns home to Michigan. Means explains: “He’s from Benton Harbor. He imagines a world in which there is a drug that allows you to enfold, or tuck inside your brain, your PTSD, your trauma. That allowed me to create where these characters have a story, but they’re not sure what it is.”
The setting for the novel is in the time of President John F. Kennedy, who in this alternate history is still alive, having survived several assassination attempts. In his third term, Kennedy establishes a federal agency called the Psych Corps to cure the scourge of mental illness.
The book's plot centers on the vet’s loss of his sister.
“It’s actually a very personal story for me,” Means says. “I wanted to write about ...

No comments:

Post a Comment