A Good Scent From a Strange Mountain by Robert Olen Butler

Published: 1992

Genre: fiction, short stories

Length: 249 pages

Setting: Versailles, Louisiana, 1990s, with memories of Vietnam during the war

Interest: It won the Pulitzer Prize

Summary: This is a series of short stories of Vietnamese immigrants who left Vietnam during or just after the Vietnam War. They all have memories of Vietnam that they are trying to reconcile with their life in Louisiana. While the landscape may be similar to what they left in Vietnam, there are just enough differences to be jarring.

Final thoughts: They were interesting stories (and one novella). I’m not a huge fan of short stories, mainly because they’re short. The stories are over so quickly and I don’t want to just rush on to the next story. I liked that the stories all shared a similar setting and theme, even if they didn’t share characters. The Vietnamese narrators and settings (at times) also set this book apart from others.

Title comes from: The last short story in the book shared the collection’s title. It came from a ghost visiting the narrator who was trying to recreate a dessert they both made back in Vietnam when they were younger.

Awards won: Pulitzer Price in 1993

Reading challenges fulfilled: 96/100 in my 100 Book Challenge, 9/12 in the Check Off Your Reading List Challenge

If you’re interested in purchasing the book, you can click on the cover image to follow an Amazon affiliate link to the book and thanks for supporting my blog!


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