Reviews

Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Only Vietnamese Americans can tell us if the thoughts, dreams, memories, and passions of the narrators of these tales capture their experience, but most readers will find moments here that cut to the quick, exposing human vulnerability and pain and joy. Service as a translator in Vietnam in 1971 was a source for Butler's well-regarded novels: The Alleys of Eden (1981), On Distant Ground (1985), Wabash (1987), and The Deuce (1989). His continuing involvement with Vietnamese who moved from the Mekong to the Mississippi near New Orleans is the basis for this first short fiction collection, which includes stories selected for publication in Best American Short Stories (1991) and New Stories from the South (1991) and for broadcast on National Public Radio's "NPR Playhouse." Having traveled thousands of miles, having lost one country and taken on a new one, Butler's characters struggle to place folktales and festivals, wartime experiences and family traditions, personal relationships and the omnipresent background noise of their new land's consumer culture in perspective. These are finely etched, powerful tales and a strong addition to any library's short-story collection. ~--Mary Carroll


Library Journal
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

In a short span of time, many Vietnamese immigrants to the United States have quietly made good in their adopted country. Butler, who served in Vietnam as a translator, now has given this silent community a voice. The first-person narrators in these tales explore both the old country and the new (primarily Louisiana), as well as the realm of the spirits. Each story unfolds like a delicate paper fan, with startling, ghostly images hiding in every crevice. While many writers have finely described the daily grind of the immigrant experience, Butler has gone one step further, evoking the collective unconscious of a displaced population. Recommended for all literary fiction collections and essential for libraries seeking to expand Asian American literature collections.-- Rita Ciresi, Pennsylvania State Univ., University Park


Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Only Vietnamese Americans can tell us if the thoughts, dreams, memories, and passions of the narrators of these tales capture their experience, but most readers will find moments here that cut to the quick, exposing human vulnerability and pain and joy. Service as a translator in Vietnam in 1971 was a source for Butler's well-regarded novels: The Alleys of Eden (1981), On Distant Ground (1985), Wabash (1987), and The Deuce (1989). His continuing involvement with Vietnamese who moved from the Mekong to the Mississippi near New Orleans is the basis for this first short fiction collection, which includes stories selected for publication in Best American Short Stories (1991) and New Stories from the South (1991) and for broadcast on National Public Radio's "NPR Playhouse." Having traveled thousands of miles, having lost one country and taken on a new one, Butler's characters struggle to place folktales and festivals, wartime experiences and family traditions, personal relationships and the omnipresent background noise of their new land's consumer culture in perspective. These are finely etched, powerful tales and a strong addition to any library's short-story collection. ~--Mary Carroll


Library Journal
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

In a short span of time, many Vietnamese immigrants to the United States have quietly made good in their adopted country. Butler, who served in Vietnam as a translator, now has given this silent community a voice. The first-person narrators in these tales explore both the old country and the new (primarily Louisiana), as well as the realm of the spirits. Each story unfolds like a delicate paper fan, with startling, ghostly images hiding in every crevice. While many writers have finely described the daily grind of the immigrant experience, Butler has gone one step further, evoking the collective unconscious of a displaced population. Recommended for all literary fiction collections and essential for libraries seeking to expand Asian American literature collections.-- Rita Ciresi, Pennsylvania State Univ., University Park (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.