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.
Unique, deeply personal and visionary, an extraordinary work of fiction, written in conversation with some of the greatest war narratives, from The Iliad to the Rolling Stones' 'Gimme Shelter'.
Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2016
David Means' books have been translated into eight languages and his fiction has appeared in numerous publications. Assorted Fire Events won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for fiction and a National Book Critics Circle nomination. The Secret Goldfish was shortlisted for the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Prize. The Spot was a 2010 Notable Book by the New York Times and won an O. Henry Prize. Means lives in New York and teaches at Vassar College. Hystopia is his highly anticipated first novel., 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.