About The Book
In his second collection, Tabloid Dreams, Pulitzer Prize-winning 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.
“Butler has taken a ham’s material and fashioned it into a dozen artful and wondrous tales.” —Chicago Tribune
“Genius . . . Turning the lurid third-person titles of his stories into direct testimony from the principles, Mr. Butler often transforms the material’s coarseness . . . into lyricism and wonder.” —The New York Times Book Review
“To see, to know, to touch, to remember—these desires have always been at the heart of great fiction. They are here in abundance, along with the skewed and comic tenderness that is Butler’s greatest gift as a writer.” —The Times-Picayune (New Orleans)