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From one of America s most important writers, Perfume River is an exquisite novel that examines family ties and the legacy of the Vietnam War through the portrait of a single North Florida family. Robert Quinlan is a seventy-year-old historian, teaching at Florida State University, where his wife Darla is also tenured. Their marriage, forged in the fervor of anti-Vietnam-war protests, now bears the fractures of time, both personal and historical, with the couple trapped in an existence of morning coffee and solitary jogging and separate offices. For Robert and Darla, the cracks remain under the surface, whereas the divisions in Robert s own family are more apparent: he has almost no relationship with his brother Jimmy, who became estranged from the family as the Vietnam War intensified. Robert and Jimmy s father, a veteran of WWII, is coming to the end of his life, and aftershocks of war ripple across their lives once again, when Jimmy refuses to appear at his father s bedside. And an unstable homeless man whom Robert at first takes to be a fellow Vietnam veteran turns out to have a deep impact not just on Robert, but on his entire family."
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About the Author

Robert Olen Butler is the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of sixteen novels, including Hell, A Small Hotel, and the Christopher Marlowe Cobb series. He is also the author of six short story collections and a book on the creative process, From Where You Dream. He has twice won a National Magazine Award in Fiction and received the 2013 F. Scott Fitzgerald Award for Outstanding Achievement in American Literature. He teaches creative writing at Florida State University.

Reviews

Advance Praise for Perfume River One of the Millions Most Anticipated Books of the Year An exceptional novel. Advance Reading Copy The prolific author best known for his Pulitzer Prize-winning book, A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain, returns to mine the fraught relationships of military fathers and sons in this searching portrait. Atlanta Journal Constitution (13 Fall Books That Will Change the Way You See the South) A deeply meditative reflection on aging and love, as seen through the prism of one family quietly torn asunder by the lingering effects of the Vietnam War. Butler, returning to contemporary literary fiction after three outstanding historical thrillers, shows again that he is a master of tone, mood, and character, whatever genre he chooses to explore. This is thoughtful, introspective fiction of the highest caliber, but it carries a definite edge, thanks to an insistent backbeat that generates suspense with the subtlest of brushstrokes. Booklist (starred review) Butler s assured, elegant novel explores a family fractured by the Vietnam War as its members face the losses of age . . . Eddying fluidly through its half-century span, the book speaks eloquently of the way the past bleeds into the present, history reverberates through individual lives, and mortality challenges our perceptions of ourselves and others. Publishers Weekly The climactic scene . . . is devastating and beautifully written. Many weighty themes . . . the shadow of Vietnam, the push and pull of father-son relationships, the pitfalls of long-term marriages, and the psychic toll of aging . . . Butler pulls it all together into a story that s both complex and meaningful. Kirkus Reviews What I so like about Perfume River is its plainly-put elegance. Enough time has passed since Viet Nam that its grave human lessons and heartbreaks can bewith a measure of geniusalmost simply stated. Butler s novel is a model for this heartbreaking simplicity and grace. Richard Ford"

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