Dear Mr. President
By Gabe Hudson
(Vintage, Paperback, 9780375713408, 176pp.)
Publication Date: November 11, 2003
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Everybody’s Gulf War Syndrome is a little bit different. Or so believes Larry, who returns home from Desert Storm to find his hair gone and his bones rapidly disintegrating. Then there’s Lance Corporal James Laverne of the US Marines, who grows a third ear in Kuwait. And in the audaciously comic novella “Notes from a Bunker Along Highway 8,” a Green Beret deserts his team after seeing a vision of George Washington, only to find a new calling—administering aid to wounded Iraqi civilians; he’s hindered only by the furtive nature of his mission and an unruly band of chimpanzees. Together these narratives form a bracing amalgamation of devastating humor and brilliant cultural observation, in which Gabe Hudson fearlessly explores the darker implications of American military power.
Gabe Hudson received his MFA from Brown University, where he was awarded the John Hawkes Prize in Fiction. His fiction has been published in The New Yorker and McSweeney’s. He has received the Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and was a PEN/Hemingway Finalist. He lives in New York City.
“Weird, wonderful, and worrisome.” —The Washington Post Book World
“Dear Mr. President is a war book like no other. It’s as if Salvador Dali had rewritten All Quiet on the Western Front.” —USA Today
“Wickedly funny and extremely touching….cannot—and should not—be ignored.”—San Francisco Chronicle
“A major literary feat. Hudson….is more Kafka than Tolstoy. Like the war at its center, Dear Mr. President is hallucinatory, fast, and wantonly disturbing, but also a victory.” —Men’s Journal
“Hudson writes about a pain so vast and shattering that the only way it can safely be surveyed is with night goggles and hallucinatory humor. . . .documents the damage that war inflicts upon the American spirit. . . . This depiction of madness, this blur of comedy and tragedy is done with deft humor and convincing passion.” —The San Diego Union-Tribune