Perfume River


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About the Author

Robert Olen Butler is the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain, and sixteen other novels including Hell, A Small Hotel, Perfume River, and the Christopher Marlowe Cobb series. He is also the author of six short story collections and a book on the creative process, From Where You Dream. He has twice won a National Magazine Award in Fiction and received the 2013 F. Scott Fitzgerald Award for Outstanding Achievement in American Literature. He teaches creative writing at Florida State University.


Butler's Faulknerian shuttling back and forth across the decades has less to do with literary pyrotechnics than with cutting to the chase. Perfume River hits its marks with a high-stakes intensity . . . Butler's particulars on the two brothers' marriages are comprehensively adroit . . . Butler's prose is fluid, and his handling of his many time-shifts as lucid as it is urgent. His descriptive gifts don't extend just to his characters' traits or their Florida and New Orleans settings, but to the history he's addressing . . . 'You share a war in one way,' Robert thinks. 'You pass it on in another.' Perfume River captures both the agony and subtlety of how that happens
*New York Times Book Review*

Though superficially a straightforward family drama, Perfume River poses some deeply serious questions about the nature of our engagement with war and the way throughout history it has served the purpose of testing the resolve and courage of young men. It also explores how notions of loyalty and duty can be part of a son's genetic inheritance and what can happen when they are challenged. And it reveals how, more than 40 years after its ignominious end, the Vietnam War remains for some Americans an open wound. Butler's refusal to even hint at easy answers to those questions makes this a novel that succeeds in engaging us in profound and important ways

At the heart of the story - or stories, which move fluidly among Robert, Darla and Jimmy, one character's thoughts sometimes answering another's - is a knot of misunderstandings, misconceptions and assumptions that begin to unravel with the father's fall, only to be replaced by new if somewhat clearer distortions
*Minneapolis Star Tribune*

This thoughtful and considered novel stands as a sobering reminder that there are still members of an ageing generation to have, even now, failed to find peace or closure
*The Sunday Herald *

An understated yet profound and incredibly hard hitting and evocative novel that just simmers with tension
*LoveReading *

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