cover image Intercourse: Stories

Intercourse: Stories

Robert Olen Butler, Author . Chronicle $22.95 (216p) ISBN 978-

Butler moves from death monologues (Severance ) to little death monologues in this provocative collection of brief pieces that imagine what goes on in the minds of copulating couples. Many of the voices represent legendary romances, such as that of Napoleon and Josephine (she fantasizes about her lover the hussar while he resolves to shoot her annoying dog); William Shakespeare and the earl of Southampton (“I am pen and I am ink and I am his words”); and Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker (“it don't take me more than about three seconds... to know she's the one”). Adam lies with Eve after naming all things in nature, and Abe and Mary Todd Lincoln bed uncompanionably. There's J. Edgar Hoover and Clyde Tolson (thinks Tolson: “little did they know the truth about this great and powerful man”), Bobby Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe, Robert Olen Butler and a Saigon hotel clerk (CNN is “muted on the TV screen”), and George and Laura Bush (he is “the guy who can whip your ass”). Butler seals the deal with crystalline prose, a dark imagination and some moments of light camp. (June)