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Peter Van Buren reads from his new book Hooper’s War
May 16 @ 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
A historical novel with strong contemporary resonance, Hooper’s War is set in WWII Japan. Protagonist Lieutenant Nate Hooper is a composite of too many men and women who have experienced the horror of war; he isn’t sure he’ll survive, and if he does make it home, he isn’t sure he can survive the peace. He’s done a terrible thing, and struggles to resolve the mistake he made alongside a Japanese soldier, and a Japanese woman who failed to save both men. At stake? Their souls.
Van Buren writes about the experiences of those who have lived through wartimes with insight and empathy. He is a 24-year veteran of the State Department, and in researching this book came to know a number of veterans through an anonymous group and, under the same conditions, spoke more intimately with men and women he lived alongside during a year he was in Iraq as an embed which is chronicled in his first book We Meant Well. Fluent in Japanese, Van Buren also interviewed elderly Japanese citizens who lived through WWII as civilians. He found that a lot of their pain festers not just out of what they saw and did, but the realization that what they saw and did really didn’t matter in the bigger picture. It should’ve had a justification. Some explained they came to think of moral injury like taking apart a jigsaw puzzle. They thought and thought and while they couldn’t say exactly when, at some point they couldn’t see the whole picture anymore.