The story of how one man wound up fighting the Vietnam War from a Chicago hospital
Young slacker Jim Holder wants no part of the draft, the army, or Vietnam. So he registers as a conscientious objector and gets ready for alternative service. He’s assigned to work as a unit manager at a downtown Chicago medical center, worlds apart from his rural roots. A wild assortment of patients and colleagues awaits him at Metropolitan Hospital. As Jim’s life swings from the chaos of his job to the fervor of a revolutionary moment, he balances his beliefs with the everyday business of life and death.
In this richly comic novel, Paul Hoover crystallizes the strange days of the conflict in Vietnam with a memorable cast of characters.
“A superb premier novel, a story brimming with life’s wonder and chance. Filled with sharp and canny, kindly wit.” —Larry Heinemann
“Paul Hoover has a real talent for seeing and reporting the unexpected and often bizarre hidden lives of his characters. His vision is deep and wide, never settling for surfaces. His voice is unpretentious, wise and true. This is an important book, full of what we all need to know—how to find hope and keep it.” —Kaye Gibbons
Paul Hoover is a professor of creative writing at San Francisco State University. He is coeditor of New American Writing and the editor of the anthology Postmodern American Poetry. He is the author of fifteen books of poetry, a book of literary essays, and Saigon, Illinois, his only novel. He has also translated poetry from German, Vietnamese, and Spanish.
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