Five years after being gravely wounded in Afghanistan, 25-year-old Jeremy Merkin is still trying to put the pieces of his life back together. The only man he can look to for inspiration — his grandfather, Al, a Vietnam veteran — is so shattered by his own experiences that they cannot even communicate with each other. In William Kowalski’s novel “The Hundred Hearts” Jeremy seeks physical clues to what happened to him in the days preceding the IED explosion that changed his life forever. And he learns things that will change him even more — about his dead best friend; about his grandfather, who was present at the My Lai massacre in 1968; and about himself.From the best-selling author of “Eddie’s Bastard” comes this stunning portrayal of the true cost of war for soldiers and generations of their families.
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The Indie Author Life
Readers often want to know where an author got his idea for a particular book, or how he came to write it. In a recent blog post William Kowalski explained his inspiration:
Here’s why I wrote THE HUNDRED HEARTS: because I believe that our young men and women are being lied to in order to get them to give their bodies and their lives in what they believe is the service of their country, but which is really just the service of the corporate oligarchy that is running the show.
This is not new. It’s been going on in America for a long time, and I am hardly the first one to point it out.
But it’s incredibly disheartening to see that so few people have learned this lesson. Back during the Vietnam war, there were protests all over the country on a regular basis. That’s because about fifty thousand young American men were killed in that war. It’s a staggering number, isn’t it? Fifty thousand is enough to be incomprehensible. And that’s only a fraction of those whose lives were damaged or destroyed but who came home anyway. We’ve experienced about one-tenth the casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan, and I believe that’s the real reason people haven’t been more upset about it–because it just hasn’t touched their lives in a visible way.
As a novelist, it’s the invisible ways that interest me. I’ve always wondered how a man could go off to war, and, as I put it in the book, “see the unseeable, do the undoable, and later, try to forget the unforgettable.” I’m fascinated by life on the margins of stark boundaries: the edge between war and peace, between prison and freedom, between power and powerlessness.