A Good Scent From a Strange Mountain

Someone recommended this book to me as “the best book of short stories, period.” Well, ok then, I had to check it out with such a bold declaration behind it. And I’m just confused by the boldness of said declaration; this is simply a good book, nothing great, surely not the greatest collection of short stories ever. More confusing is that this is a collection of stories from the Vietnamese-American perspective, written by an American author. After searching a bit, I found that Butler served in ‘Nam, which might account for some of his fascination with Vietnamese culture. But it lacks authenticity.
The only story I felt remotely captivated by was The American Couple, told from the perspective of a Vietnamese American woman settled in Louisiana, who won a trip to Puerta Vallarta on a game show and who drug her husband Vinh along with her unwillingly. They pair up with another couple who won their trip on another game show and explore the old movie set ruins of Night of the Iguana.
***
Reco’d by Eileen


auth=Butler, Robert Olen
pub=1992