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Robert Olen Butler Official Website Robert Olen Buter - The Deep Green Sea

The Deep Green Sea

Selection

There is a moment now, come suddenly upon us, when the sound of the motorbikes from the street has faded almost to silence, and I can smell, faintly, the incense I have burned, and I am naked at last. He is naked, too, though I still have not let my eyes move beyond his face and his arms and his hands. He is very gentle, very cautious, and to my surprise, I say, “I have never done this before.”

I am lying on my bed and he is beside me and we are lit by neon from the hotel across the street and he has touched only my shoulders. His hands are moving there when I say these words, and they hesitate. There is also a hesitation in me. I hear what I have said. Some place inside me says these words are true, and some other place says that I am a liar.

I am twenty-six years old and I have been with two men in my life. But I was never with them in this bed, I was never with them in this room where I was a child of my grandmother, this room where I keep the altar to my dead father, and when I removed my clothes with these men, I did not feel I was naked with them, though I wished to be. There was fear in my heart and incomprehension in their eyes, and when we rose from the places where we touched, I felt nothing except that I was alone.

Reviews

1997

1997

“Butler, an ex-GI, made his name, and won a Pulitzer, for A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain. Here he explores further into the territory he knows best, with a poetic treatment of the love between a modern Vietnamese woman, orphaned in the fall of Saigon in 1975, and a blue-collar Vietnam vet delving into his traumatic past… A sincere treatment of the ancient theme of love mixed up with war.”

Scotsman

“A bittersweet love story what makes The Deep Green Sea a strikingly lively experience is its adherence to classical tragedy, enriched with Butler’s fragrant and sensuous attention to detail… His written word swells with human feelings, and the spiteful precision of fate. Immerse yourself.”

Time Out


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