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About the Author

Robert Olen Butler is a novelist, screenwriter, educator, and short-story writer who grew up in Granite City, Illinois. Butler served in Vietnam. Following the Vietnam War, Butler began writing. His stories have appeared in The New Yorker, Esquire, The Paris Review, and The Saturday Review, as well show more as in four annual editions of the Best American Short Stories and six annual editions of New Stories of the South. A collection of his stories, A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain, won the 1993 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. Butler's novels include The Alleys of Eden, Countrymen of Bones, and Sun Dogs. He has received a Guggenheim Fellowship in fiction and a National Endowment for the Arts grant. Butler also won the Richard and Hinda Rosenthal Foundation Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He teaches creative writing at McNeese State University. (Bowker Author Biography) show less
Image credit: Author Robert Olen Butler at the 2016 Texas Book Festival. By Larry D. Moore, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=53477339


Works by Robert Olen Butler

They Whisper (1994) 302 copies
Hell (2009) 273 copies
Tabloid Dreams: Stories (1996) 227 copies
Severance: Stories (2005) 193 copies
A Small Hotel (2011) 183 copies
Mr. Spaceman (2000) 181 copies
The Deep Green Sea (1997) 138 copies
Perfume River (2016) 131 copies
The Hot Country (2012) 117 copies
The Star of Istanbul (2013) 115 copies
Fair Warning: A Novel (2002) 111 copies
Paris in the Dark (2018) 85 copies

Associated Works

The Future Dictionary of America (2004) — Contributor — 627 copies
The Best American Short Stories 1996 (1996) — Contributor — 247 copies
The Best American Short Stories 1994 (1994) — Contributor — 242 copies
The Best American Short Stories 1992 (1992) — Contributor — 223 copies
The New Granta Book of the American Short Story (2007) — Contributor — 212 copies
The Best American Short Stories 1991 (1991) — Contributor — 184 copies
Stories of the Sea (2010) — Contributor — 139 copies
Nerve: Literate Smut (1998) — Contributor — 126 copies
Invaders: 22 Tales from the Outer Limits of Literature (2016) — Contributor — 110 copies
Full Frontal Fiction: The Best of Nerve.com (2000) — Contributor — 72 copies
Anonymous Sex (2022) — Contributor — 67 copies
The Best American Magazine Writing 2001 (2001) — Contributor — 66 copies
New Stories from the South 2000: The Year's Best (2000) — Contributor — 53 copies
The Good Parts: The Best Erotic Writing in Modern Fiction (2000) — Contributor — 34 copies
New Stories from the South: The Year's Best, 1995 (1995) — Contributor — 34 copies
New Stories from the South: The Year's Best, 1997 (1997) — Preface; Contributor — 34 copies
New Stories from the South: The Year's Best, 1996 (1996) — Contributor — 33 copies
Birds in the Hand: Fiction and Poetry about Birds (2004) — Contributor — 33 copies
New Stories from the South: The Year's Best, 1991 (1991) — Contributor — 32 copies
New Stories from the South 2005: The Year's Best (2005) — Contributor — 28 copies
New Stories from the South: The Year's Best, 1993 (1993) — Contributor — 26 copies
New Stories from the South: The Year's Best, 1992 (1992) — Contributor — 22 copies
A Good Man: Fathers and Sons in Poetry and Prose (1993) — Contributor — 20 copies
A Portrait of Southern Writers: Photographs (2000) — Contributor — 13 copies
Surreal South (2007) — Contributor — 12 copies


20th century (43) American (71) American fiction (37) American literature (79) anthology (427) collection (48) dictionary (39) erotica (55) essays (42) fantasy (88) fiction (1,082) first edition (72) hardcover (34) historical fiction (36) horror (54) humor (107) literature (95) McSweeney's (95) mystery (38) non-fiction (91) novel (66) own (54) politics (51) Pulitzer (53) Pulitzer Prize (52) read (61) reference (43) satire (37) science fiction (42) short fiction (59) short stories (821) short story (35) signed (94) stories (62) to-read (418) unread (78) USA (34) Vietnam (130) Vietnam War (55) writing (86)

Common Knowledge



A collection of short stories by an American GI (who has long taught creative writing on the college level) who served as a translator in Vietnam. He clearly is taken with the country and its people but I found it offputting that all of the stories are told by Vietnamese narrators. There’s just something about an American writing from the point of view of Vietnamese narrators that bothered me. This won the Pulitzer Prize in 1993; back then, there weren’t a lot of Vietnamese authors writing or available in English so, from that perspective, I guess it’s all understandable but it mostly left me surprised that this was a Pulitzer winner.… (more)
Gypsy_Boy | 24 other reviews | Aug 26, 2023 |
This is about the effect of the war on an American family told decades after the war ended. Butler has a true knack for the way people think and talk: how we say one thing even as we are thinking another. One brother served in Vietnam and one brother fled to Canada. They’re both around 70 now and the book is about their relationship and their relationships to their parents. Very well done. A far better book than A Good Scent From a Strange Mountain. As someone who remembers that period vividly, I found it moving, evocative, and true.… (more)
Gypsy_Boy | 11 other reviews | Aug 26, 2023 |
Pulitzer Prize winning author
JimandMary69 | 11 other reviews | Aug 16, 2023 |
An OK debut. His sequels are better, but this one sets the stage for the ongoing storyline. My interest lagged in the middle of the story, perhaps the book is a tad too long?
BrianEWilliams | 10 other reviews | Apr 29, 2023 |



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