Author(s): Robert Olen Butler
'What I so like about Perfume River is its plainly-put elegance. Enough time has passed since Vietnam that its grave human lessons and heartbreaks can be-with a measure of genius-almost simply stated. Butler's novel is a model for this heartbreaking simplicity and grace' - Richard Ford
'Butler has not entered the significant and ever-growing canon of Vietnam-related fiction (he has long been a member) he has changed its composition forever' - Guardian
'One of the most profoundly creative voices in fiction today' - Ann Patchett
Profound and poignant, Perfume River is an examination of relationships, personal choice, and how warresonates down the generations. It is the finest novel yet from one of America's most important writers,the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain.
Robert Quinlan and his wife Darla teach at Florida State University. Their marriage, forged in the fervorof anti-Vietnam-war protests, now bears the fractures of time, with the couple trapped in an existence ofmorning coffee, solitary jogging and separate offices. For Robert and Darla, the cracks remain belowthe surface, whereas the divisions in Robert's own family are more apparent: he has almost norelationship with his brother Jimmy, who became estranged from the family as the Vietnam Warintensified. William Quinlan, Robert and Jimmy's father, a veteran of World War II, is coming to the endof his life, and aftershocks of war ripple across all their lives once again when Jimmy refuses to appearat his father's bedside. And a disturbed homeless man whom Robert at first takes to be a fellowVietnam veteran turns out to have a devastating impact not just on Robert, but on his entire family.