Descripción de editorial
There are a dozen ways the American Dream can go awry in this “unrepeatable . . . tour de force” of short fiction from the Pulitzer Prize–winning author (The Washington Post Book World).
“[With] touches of Italo Calvino, Roald Dahl, and Gabriel García Márquez” the Pulitzer Prize and National Magazine Award–winning author dazzles with his mastery of the short story and his ability to find humor and humanity in the extremes of the American way (San Francisco Chronicle).
Using tabloid headlines for inspiration—among them, “Boy Born with Tattoo of Elvis,” “Woman Struck by Car Turns into Nymphomaniac,” and “Titanic Victim Speaks Through Waterbed”—Butler moves from the fantastic to the realistic, and from the lurid to the transcendent, as he explores exile, loss, aspiration, and the search for self. Along the way, we meet a wife who uses her glass eye to spy on her cheating husband; a widow who sets herself on fire after losing a baking competition; a nine-year-old hit man; a woman who dates an extraterrestrial she met at Walmart; and a furtive and mournful JFK who survived the assassination.
“Butler peels back the sleazy veneer of the sensational to expose characters who long for love and the healing comfort of human compassion” —USA Today
“Read all about it: if you’re frustrated by the way nothing much seems to happen in modern short fiction, you’ll find Tabloid Dreams a whole different story.” —The New York Times Book Review
“These stories are masterpieces.” —South Florida Sun-Sentinel
“Tabloid Dreams is full-blown American magical realism.” —Boston Review
Endlessly playful, inventive and daring, Butler (They Whisper) challenges himself with each new book. He does so again in this intriguing collection of 12 short stories in which he combines the bizarre and the matter-of-fact with remarkable legerdemain. What at first seems a blatant device proves instead to be an interesting catalyst: the titles mimic lurid tabloid headlines, but Butler develops such howlers as "Help Me Find My Spaceman Lover'' and "Woman Hit by Car Turns into Nymphomaniac'' into eerie or outlandish situations that become funny and affecting stories capable of touching universal chords. Each tale has a first-person narrator, ranging from a nine-year-old boy who kills mobsters with insouciance to a jealous husband who is reincarnated as a parrot bought by his former wife. In one irreverent but poignant story, JFK, in hiding since the (unsuccessful) assassination attempt, attends the Jackie auction, where he muses on his late wife's naked body. Although in each entry the epiphanic moment arises from a surreal situation, the format does not result in any sameness of tone, voice, plot structure or setting; the latter include an Alabama trailer park and a Manhattan book editor's plush office. A few stories ("Doomsday Meteor Is Coming''; "Woman Loses Cookie Bake-Off, Sets Self on Fire'') try too hard, but the collection has a strong emotional impact, especially when one reaches the last story, which echoes the first, both of which are inspired by the sinking of the Titanic.