In Robert Olen Butler's dazzling new book of stories, Had a Good Time, he explores America by finding artistic inspiration in an unlikely and fascinating place-the backs of postcards from a bygone era. For many years Butler has collected picture postcards from the early twentieth century-not so much for the pictures on the front but for the messages written on the backs, little bits of the captured souls of people long since passed away. Only Butler could use these brief messages of real people from another age to create fully imagined stories that speak to the universal human condition. From the hilarious "The Ironworkers' Hayride," where a young man named Milton dates a girl with a wooden leg, to the deeply moving "Carl and I," where a young wife writes a postcard in reply to a card from her husband who is dying of tuberculosis, to the eerily familiar "The One in White," where a newspaper reporter covers an incident of American military adventurism in a foreign land, these fifteen stories convey a complex and true vision of America and Americans that resonates profoundly into our own time.
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June 2004 : USA Hardback
June 2005 : USA Paperback
December 2007 : USA, Canada Kindle edition