Severance: Stories

Front Cover
Chronicle Books, Aug 10, 2006 - Fiction - 263 pages
5 Reviews
The human head is believed to remain in a state of consciousness for one and one-half minutes after decapitation. In a heightened state of emotion, people speak at the rate of 160 words per minute. Inspired by the intersection of these two seemingly unrelated concepts, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Robert Olen Butler wrote sixty-two stories, each exactly 240 words in length, capturing the flow of thoughts and feelings that go through a person's mind after their head has been severed. The characters are both real and imaginedMedusa (beheaded by Perseus, 2000 BC), Anne Boleyn (beheaded at the behest of Henry VIII, 1536), a chicken (beheaded for Sunday dinner, Alabama, 1958), and the author (decapitated, on the job, 2008). Told with the intensity of a poet and the wit of a great storyteller, these final thoughts illuminate and crystallize more about the characters' own lives and the worlds they inhabit than many writers manage to convey in full-length biographies or novels. The stories, which have appeared in literary magazines across the country, are a delightful and intriguing creative feat from one of today's most inventive writers.
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - kurvanas - LibraryThing

A nice literary exercise and cool collection of microfiction. One of those poetiprosaic experiments which is fascinating and has many sparkling lines. However, couldn't agree more about the ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - mjX - LibraryThing

Severance is one of the most unique books I’ve ever read. In fact, it’s a little creepy. The premise is based on two scientific theories: 1) that a person’s head remains conscious for one and a half ... Read full review

Selected pages

Contents

I
14
II
18
III
22
IV
26
V
30
VI
34
VII
38
VIII
42
XXXIV
142
XXXV
146
XXXVII
150
XXXVIII
154
XXXIX
158
XL
162
XLII
166
XLIII
170

IX
46
X
50
XI
54
XII
58
XIII
62
XIV
66
XV
70
XVI
74
XVII
78
XVIII
82
XIX
86
XX
90
XXI
94
XXII
102
XXIV
106
XXV
110
XXVII
114
XXVIII
118
XXIX
122
XXX
126
XXXI
130
XXXII
134
XXXIII
138
XLIV
174
XLV
178
XLVI
182
XLVIII
186
L
190
LI
194
LII
198
LIII
202
LIV
206
LVI
210
LVII
214
LVIII
218
LIX
222
LX
226
LXII
230
LXIII
234
LXIV
238
LXV
242
LXVII
246
LXVIII
250
LXIX
254
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About the author (2006)

Robert Olen Butler, recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for his short-story collection A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain, is the author of many acclaimed works of fiction. His short stories have appeared in The New Yorker, Esquire, The Atlantic Monthly, and many other magazines. He lives and teaches in Tallahassee, Florida.

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