Robert Olen Butler's picture

Robert Olen Butler

USA flag (b.1945)

Robert Olen Butler has published twelve novels—The Alleys of Eden, Sun Dogs, Countrymen of Bones, On Distant Ground, Wabash, The Deuce, They Whisper, The Deep Green Sea, Mr. Spaceman, Fair Warning, Hell and (forthcoming this August) A Small Hotel—and six volumes of short fiction—Tabloid Dreams, Had a Good Time, Severance, Intercourse, Weegee Stories, and A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain, which won the 1993 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. Butler has published a volume of his lectures on the creative process, From Where You Dream, edited with an introduction by Janet Burroway.His works have been translated into nineteen languages, including Vietnamese, Thai, Korean, Polish, Japanese, Serbian, Farsi, Czech, Estonian, and Greek. He was also a charter recipient of the Tu Do Chinh Kien Award given by the Vietnam Veterans of America for “outstanding contributions to American culture by a Vietnam veteran.” Over the past fifteen years he has lectured in universities, appeared at conferences, and met with writers groups in 17 countries as a Literary Envoy for the U. S. State Department.

Genres: Historical Mystery, Literary Fiction, Mystery

Series contributed to
Anthologies edited
Non fiction
Anthologies containing stories by Robert Olen Butler
Short stories
JFK Secretly Attends Jackie Auction (1996)

PEN/Faulkner Award for fiction Best Book nominee (1993) : A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain
Pulitzer Prize for Fiction Best Book winner (1993) : A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain

Robert Olen Butler recommends
Night Swimmer (1994)
Joseph Olshan
"Powerful and resonent... Joseph Olshan has explored deeply the realities of the obsessiveness of love."
Me and Johnny Blue (2000)
(Johnny Blue, book 1)
Joseph A West
"Wildly comic."
Acts of Faith (2005)
Philip Caputo
"Philip Caputo, from Vietnam onwards, has understood the hardest truths of the modern world better than almost anybody. Acts of Faith is a stunningly unflinching novel. On the surface it is set in Africa, but in fact its true landscape is the ravaged soul of the twenty-first century. Philip Caputo is one of the few absolutely essential writers at work today."
A Sudden Country (2005)
Karen Fisher
"A splendid novel, rendering a past era of America with resonant clarity and unfolding an achingly human story. Fisher also has a distinctively lovely narrative voice. This is a very impressive debut from a writer I will be delighted to follow in the years to come."
Forgiveness (2007)
Jim Grimsley
"What a great pleasure it always is to watch Jim Grimsley's estimable sensibility at work observing and deconstructing the foibles and follies of modern culture. In Forgiveness he exposes, with devastating wit, our cult of body and of fame. This is a brilliant and important novel."
North of the Port (2008)
Anthony Bukoski
"Anthony Bukoski understands how people begin in one place and end up in another and in the process try to preserve or renew or reinvent their very sense of self. Especially in this era, when the issue of if or how or why one becomes an American is increasingly important, Bukoski's book is downright essential."
The Gendarme (2010)
Mark T Mustian
"A harrowing and truly important novel by a splendid American writer."
Mama's Boy (2010)
Rick DeMarinis
"Rick DeMarinis has long been one of my favorite writers; wherever he has cast his gaze, he has taught me something new about the way to see things."
Song of the Orange Moons (2010)
Lori Ann Stephens
"Nuanced and lovely... Song of the Orange Moons is an enchanting debut novel from an exciting new writer."
Everything Beautiful Began After (2011)
Simon Van Booy
"Simon Van Booy knows a great deal about the complex longings of the human heart."
Broken Irish (2011)
Edward J Delaney
"Epic in its scope but relentlessly compelling in its storytelling--not a common combination--Broken Irish is a splendidly readable and richly textured novel. Edward J. Delaney is an enormously gifted writer."
The Things We Lose, The Things We Leave Behind (2013)
Billy O'Callaghan
"...achingly sad and surprisingly beautiful O'Callaghan is a treasure of the English Language."
The Commandant of Lubizec (2014)
Patrick Hicks
"A fascinating and important book."
Against A Darkening Sky (2015)
Lauren B Davis
"Brilliantly achieves the ideal for a historical novel:Davis is a remarkable writer."
Dodgers (2016)
Bill Beverly
"Dark, edgy and riveting and, for all that, deeply, humanly serious, Dodgers is white knuckles for the mind. I love this book and will closely follow Bill Beverly forever hereafter."
The Summer That Melted Everything (2016)
Tiffany McDaniel
"Tiffany McDaniel’s The Summer That Melted Everything is a wonderfully original, profoundly unsettling, deeply moving novel that delivers both the shock of fully realized reality and the deep resonance of parable. This is a remarkable debut by a splendid young writer."
The Patriots (2017)
Sana Krasikov
"This is one of the finest first novels I've read in ages."
Desperation Road (2017)
Michael Farris Smith
"Michael Farris Smith is a prodigiously talented writer whose new book is not only an exciting read but an important literary event."
The Weight of Him (2017)
Ethel Rohan
"The Weight of Him is an achingly sad, achingly lovely novel that speaks to the essential core of our shared human experience. I will not soon forget it."
Marriage of a Thousand Lies (2017)
SJ Sindu
"A remarkable novel rich with interlocking issues both timeless and timely. SJ Sindu's debut is more than impressive; it's important."
The Prague Sonata (2017)
Bradford Morrow
"This rich, masterful novel brilliantly explores the complex tumble of history, the human capacity for good and for evil, the fragile but redeeming glory of art. Morrow has long been one of America’s finest novelists. And this humanely epic tale is his finest book."
Becoming Belle (2018)
Nuala O'Connor
"O'Connor has a genius for finding the universal and unifying life essence of seemingly diverse women as they nurture their deepest sensibilities and draw upon their enduring strength. ... O'Connor's rendering of a now little-known nineteenth-century music hall dancer in Becoming Belle is thrillingly dramatic and achingly moving and profoundly resonant into this present era."
Make Me a City (2019)
Jonathan Carr
"Make Me A City is a thrillingly ambitious and ingeniously accomplished first novel. This is a stunning debut by a new and instantly important literary voice."
Call Your Daughter Home (2019)
Deb Spera
"Deb Spera is a master of voice, a master of deep-diving access to the roiling depths of human identity. These three women, in their fierce struggle for values and self, speak to those struggles in all of us, men and women both. Call Your Daughter Home is an exhilarating and important book."

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