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Purple Days

Mark Ford, 12 May 1994

The Pugilist at Rest 
by Thom Jones.
Faber, 230 pp., £14.99, March 1994, 0 571 17134 6
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The Sorrow of War 
by Bao Ninh, translated by Frank Palmos.
Secker, 217 pp., £8.99, January 1994, 0 436 31042 2
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A Good Scent from Strange Mountain 
by Robert OlenButler.
Minerva, 249 pp., £5.99, November 1993, 0 7493 9767 5
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Out of the Sixties: Storytelling and the Vietnam Generation 
by David Wyatt.
Cambridge, 230 pp., £35, February 1994, 9780521441513
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... Marooned in the ‘painful but glorious days’ of his past, he rather resembles the characters of Robert OlenButler’s Pulitzer Prize-winning collection of short stories, A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain: all of these concern South Vietnamese immigrants who have settled, for the most part happily, in ...

Get a Real Degree

Elif Batuman, 23 September 2010

The Programme Era: Postwar Fiction and the Rise of Creative Writing 
by Mark McGurl.
Harvard, 480 pp., £25.95, April 2009, 978 0 674 03319 1
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... the plantation in Beloved, the mental ward in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and the bus in Robert OlenButler’s Mr Spaceman all function as metaphors for the creative writing workshop.) McGurl also provides a smart and useful typology of ‘programme’ fiction (defined as the prose work of MFA graduates ...

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