Vacancy 

Author Robert Olen Butler has never been shy about injecting a certain amount of whimsy into his poetry and prose. The stories in his 2004 collection Had a Good Time take their inspiration from American picture postcards dating back a century, and the poems in Severance serve as monologues from the recently beheaded. But for this year’s A Small Hotel, Butler drops the conceits and focuses his fiction on something more familiar -- the dissolution of a marriage and psychological trauma that results. (When your wife leaves you for media mogul Ted Turner, there is apparently sufficient grist for the mill.) Butler, a Granite City, Illinois, native, will be back in the motherland to read from his new work at Left Bank Books (399 North Euclid Avenue; 314-367-6731 or www.left-bank.com). The reading begins at 4 p.m. and Butler will sign copies of A Small Hotel afterward.
Sun., Sept. 11, 2011

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