Thursday, July 22, 2010

Book Review: A Good Scent From A Strange Mountain

Yup, back to back book reviews.

If you're looking for something great to read, I highly recommend "A Good Scent From A Strange Mountain" by Robert Olen Butler. This collection of short stories -- which won the 1993 Pulitzer Prize for fiction -- revolves around the theme of Vietnamese Americans living in Louisiana*. To put it simply, the writing is beautiful and the stories are all memorable.

My buddy Jim had given me this book after I asked him if he had anything that was jumping off his shelf. Once I opened the book I couldn't put it down. In fact, after reading the first three short stories I sent Jim a text message that said, "These stories are beautiful. I'm gonna try to read this book slowly so I can really enjoy it." Well, I tried to read it slowly but I finished it in four days.

Put this one on your summer reading list! If you don't believe me, here's a link to the NY Times Book Review about the boook.

* All the stories revolve around Vietnamese Americans except the last two, which I felt were great stories but seemed out of place and didn't go with the work as a whole. Jim later told me that the last two stories ("Salem" and "Missing") were added in later publications.


Jessica said...

It's a documentary called A Village Called Versailles and it's about the Vietnamese community in New Orleans struggling after hurricane Katrina.

Your post made me think of it.

Anonymous said...

"Catfish and Mandala" and
"Perfume Dreams: Reflections on the Vietnamese Diaspora" are also good reads.