From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Everything changes for late-night radio talk show host Annette Majoris after she jokingly tells her Twin Cities audience that the Vietnam War was a government hoax. Where Annette had been struggling, careerwise and financially, she quickly finds herself grappling with a multiplying caller-base, national syndication and the romantic attentions of wealthy Republican Party mover-and-shaker Walter Bishop. Guided by Walter, who co-opts Annette's message to launch a presidential hopeful, and supported by Stan Marlin, the erstwhile leader of a radical conservative organization, Annette persists on the air that Vietnam never really happened, provoking outrage and disgust and attracting a following among veterans who, haunted for decades by their participation in the war, find in Annette's questioning the possibility for closure and healing. While Annette defends her argument persuasively for a time, it's a house of cards that comes crashing down. Hawley's characters are fully realized people, with their own set of ambitions, insecurities and competing desires, and her great achievement is to have constructed out of their lives a deft and hilarious sendup of the media and political culture. (May)
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Twentysomething Minnesota talk-radio host Annette Majoris becomes the talk of the town when, to spice up a sluggish broadcast, she suggests that the Vietnam War didn’t happen. Then she starts to wonder: Could such a seemingly preposterous proposition be possible? Soon she has the attention of Stan Marlin, an edgy right-wing activist just itching for a new cause. Then romantic sparks fly between Annette and Walter Bishop, a Republican Party mover-and-shaker who has money, charm, and the state’s very ambitious governor on his speed dial. Overeager Stan sends Annette fat folders full of “facts” supporting her precarious thesis. Her following grows, as does the anxiety of her producer, who doesn’t like what she’s doing, but can’t deny that her listener base is larger than ever. Annette has detractors, to be sure, but she’s also received calls from Vietnam vets who say she’s helped them come to terms with their angst. Hawley (Trip Sheets, 1998) shrewdly skewers the media and popular culture as she catalogs Annette’s journey from no-name to fame. --Allison Block