“Butler has taken a ham’s material and fashioned it into a dozen artful and wondrous tales.” Chicago Tribune
In his second collection, Tabloid Dreams
, Pulitzer Prizewinning author Robert Olen Butler dazzles with his mastery of the short story and his empathy for odd and ostracized denizens of humanity. Using tabloid headlines as inspiration“Boy Born with Tattoo of Elvis,” “Woman Struck by Car Turns into Nymphomaniac,” “JFK Secretly Attends Jackie Auction” Butler
moves from the fantastic to the realistic, exploring enduring cultural issues of exile, loss, and aspiration.
The collection begins and ends with stories set on the Titanic
the first takes place while the ship sinks, the last is narrated by a survivor stuck in the Bermuda Triangle. Along the way, we meet a woman who can see through her glass eye when it’s removed from its socket, a widow who sets herself on fire after losing a baking competition, a nine-year-old hit man with a roster of murders, and a woman who meets an extraterrestrial in a Walmart parking lot and travels to outer space on their first date. In Tabloid Dreams, Butler
weaves a seamless tapestry of high and low culture, of the surreal, sordid, and humorously sad.