The King Is Dead: Tales of Elvis Post-Mortem (1994)

Elvis, dead since August 16, 1977, is everywhere. On postage stamps and CDs, scrawled on Kuwaiti walls during the Persian Gulf war, waking up the astronauts with his songs, branded onto our politics, culture, and art - and inspiring thirty-one authors in this star-studded collection of contemporary writing. Joyce Carol Oates's signature themes of frustration, violence, and the search for identity resurface in the wittily titled but fundamentally chilling short story "Elvis Is Dead: Why Are You Alive?": Roger Ebert reviews Elvis's only good movie; both Harlan Ellison and Chet Williamson offer fanciful stories that share a common protagonist - Elvis's dead-at-birth twin, Jesse - and a common theme: What if Jesse had lived? And Lawrence Block brings back Bernie Rhodenbarr, the hero of his acclaimed mystery series, in a clever caper to photograph Graceland's secret second floor. A commentary on American life from Graceland to the White House, from "Love Me Tender" to the heart's secret desires, this offbeat and unpredictable anthology explores the myth of Elvis as a reflection of our nation, our dreams, and it brings vividly to life the King's all-pervasive influence on American culture.