Butler, Robert Olen
|Genre||Short Story (20 pp.)|
|Keywords||Acculturation, Asian Experience, Cross-Cultural Issues, Human Worth, Individuality, Love, Marital Discord, Ordinary Life, Religion, Society, Suffering, Time, War and Medicine|
The narrator is a Vietnamese husband who has a beautiful, flirtatious wife. They have been living in the New Orleans area for more than a decade, arriving in America after the fall of South Vietnam. The husband tells a remarkable story about the lengths to which he has gone, both in Vietnam and in America, to intercept and discourage his wife’s extra-marital interests. The narrator is humorously self-deprecating and matter-of-fact.
In Vietnam, he was a spy for the Americans, and able to "bring fire from heaven" in the form of American rocket attacks to scare off his wife’s would-be lovers; in America, he adapts to the local culture by consulting a "low-down papa" voodoo specialist. What follows this consultation is a hilariously told sequence of events that succeeds finally in winning the wife’s loyalty.
|Commentary||Robert Olen Butler won the Pulitzer Prize in 1993 for this wonderful collection of short stories, all about Vietnamese who immigrated to the New Orleans area as a result of the Vietnamese war. Each is told from a unique perspective, evoking with great sensitivity life in Vietnam, and the traumas of war and cultural dislocation.|
|Source||A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain|
|Place Published||New York|
|Miscellaneous||First published: 1992 (Henry Holt, New York)|
|Annotated by||Aull, Felice|
|Date of Entry||03/02/94|