Synopses & Reviews
Shopping Cart Soldiers is a modern day Odyssean tale of the atrocities of war and its even more appalling aftermath. Set against the brutal realities of the conflict in Vietnam, John Mulligan tells the story of Finn MacDonald, an eighteen-year-old boy who is drafted soon after he emigrates with his family from Scotland. Upon returning from Vietnam, Finn is plagued by the terrible memories of all he has seen and is pushed into a haze of self-destructive behavior that tests his will to survive. Shopping Cart Soldiers chronicles Finn's painful and remarkable journey -- and his triumphant path to spiritual renewal and recovery.
Kevin Baxter Los Angeles Times An important book, inspired by war but dedicated to each veteran's personal search for spiritual peace.
Wally Lamb author of I Know This Much is True and She's Come Undone Simultaneously hellish and hopeful...I was moved and mesmerized by Mulligan's harrowing story.
Maxine Hong Kingston author of The Woman Warrior This book is unprecedented in conveying the mythic truth of war....When I read John's work, I dream about his character....I'm amazed at the power of his writing.
Larry Heinemann author of Paco's Story As dreamy and eerie, singular and compelling a novel as you will ever read. A prime piece of storytelling.
Gerald Nicosia The Washington Post Book World If I had to pick three novels that best embody the American experience in the Vietnam War, they would be Tim O'Brien's Going After Cacciato, Larry Heinemann's Paco's story, and John Mulligan's Shopping Cart Soldiers.
This stunning, internationally acclaimed first novel of the Vietnam War and its shattering aftermath recounts the private horrors of a Scottish immigrant who is drafted into the army shortly after his family arrives in the United States.
About the Author
John Mulligan was born in Kirkintilloch, Scotland, in 1950, into a home with ten children. After his family emigrated to the U.S., Mulligan enlisted in the Air Force. Within weeks of turning 18 and while still a British citizen, he was on his way to combat in Vietnam. On his return to San Francisco after his tour of duty, he suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and was homeless for more than ten years. During his recovery from alcoholism, Mulligan attended a veteran's workshop run by the celebrated author Maxine Hong Kingston, who recognized his extraordinary talent and helped him edit the manuscript of Shopping Cart Soldiers.