Had a Good Time by Robert Butler
Stories from American Postcards

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Synopsis

For many years Pulitzer Prize-winning author Robert Olen Butler has collected picture postcards from the early twentieth century-not so much for the pictures on the fronts but for the messages written on the backs, little bits of the captured souls of people long since passed away. Using these brief messages of real people from another age, Butler creates fully imagined stories that speak to the universal human condition. In "Up by Heart," a Tennessee miner is called upon to become a preacher, and then asked to complete an altogether more sinister task. In "The Ironworkers' Hayride," a young man named Milton embarks on a romantic adventure with a girl with a wooden leg. From the deeply moving "Carl and I," where a young wife writes a postcard in reply to a card from her husband who is dying of tuberculosis, to the eerily familiar "The One in White," where a newspaper reporter covers an incident of American military adventurism in a foreign land, these are intimate and fascinating glimpses into the lives of ordinary people in an extraordinary age.
 

About Robert Butler

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Joanne Koenig Coste, a nationally recognized expert and an outspoken advocate for patient and family care, is a board member of the American Journal of Alzheimer's Disease. Currently in private practice as an Alzheimer's family therapist, Koenig Coste also serves as president of Alzheimer's Consulting Associates. She lectures around the country and is the recipient of a National Award for Health Heroes from Reader's Digest. She was named a "Woman to Watch in the 21st Century" by NBC Nightly News
 
Published December 1, 2007 by Grove Press. 288 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Had a Good Time

The New York Times

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A middle-aged immigrant, ignorant of his impending doom, is sitting alone on the beach at Coney Island reading the newspaper, trying to make sense of its confusing array of fact and advertising: ''I pass by a full-page announcement of Macy's Furniture Sale where The Prices Do the Talking and by n...

Aug 15 2004 | Read Full Review of Had a Good Time: Stories from...

Publishers Weekly

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Awarded the Pulitzer Prize for fiction, Butler's 15 stories, set in the Vietnamese enclaves of suburban New Orleans, capture the voices of people who have lost their homeland and are trying to adapt to an alien culture.

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Publishers Weekly

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A few stories amount to little more than vignettes or reveries: in "No Chord of Music," a woman takes her husband's car for an empowering ride, and in "Sunday," an immigrant at Coney Island feels blessed to be in America.

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Entertainment Weekly

Vintage postcards adorned with rustic landscapes, spooning young lovers, and wish-you-were-here greetings are the jumping-off point for this uneven but affecting series of vignettes of early-20th-century America in Had A Good Time.

Aug 25 2004 | Read Full Review of Had a Good Time: Stories from...

Bookmarks Magazine

Thomas Mallon Boston Globe 3 of 5 Stars Had a Good Time left me feeling the way I feel after reading a friend’s postcard: intrigued but not fulfilled, tantalized by the limitless variety of place and time and character, but wanting to bury myself deeper in their complexity …" Roland Merullo ...

Oct 08 2007 | Read Full Review of Had a Good Time: Stories from...

Reader Rating for Had a Good Time
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