T.C. Boyle's riotous first novel now in a new edition for its 25th anniversary. Twenty five years ago, T.C. Boyle published his first novel, Water Music, a funny, bawdy, extremely entertaining novel of imaginative and stylistic fancy that announced to the world Boyle's tremendous gifts as a storyteller. Set in the late eighteenth century, Water Music follows the wild adventures of Ned Rise, thief and whoremaster, and Mungo Park, a Scottish explorer, through London's seamy gutters and Scotland's scenic highlands to their grand meeting in the heart of darkest Africa. There they join forces and wend their hilarious way to the source of the Niger. "Ribald, hilarious, exotic, engrossing flight of the literary imagination." — Los Angeles Times "Water Music does for fiction what Raiders of the Lost Ark did for film. . Boyle is an adept plotter, a crazed humorist, and a fierce describer. "-The Boston Globe "High comic fiction. . Boyle is a writer of considerable talent. He pulls off his most implausible inventions with wit, a perfect sense of timing, and his considerable linguistic gifts." — The Washington Post
Acclaimed New York Times bestselling author T.C. Boyle makes his Ecco debut with a powerful, gripping novel that explores the roots of violence and anti-authoritarianism inherent in the American character.
Set in contemporary Northern California, The Harder They Come explores the volatile connections between three damaged people — an aging ex-Marine and Vietnam veteran, his psychologically unstable son, and the son's paranoid, much older lover — as they careen towards an explosive confrontation.
On a vacation cruise to Central America with his wife, seventy-year-old Sten Stensen unflinchingly kills a gun-wielding robber menacing a busload of senior tourists. The reluctant hero is relieved to return home to Fort Bragg, California, after the ordeal — only to find that his delusional son, Adam, has spiraled out of control.
Adam has become involved with Sara Hovarty Jennings, a hardened member of the Sovereign Citizens’ Movement, right-wing anarchists who refuse to acknowledge the laws and regulations of the state, considering them to be false and non-applicable. Adam’s senior by some fifteen years, Sara becomes his protector and inamorata. As Adam's mental state fractures, he becomes increasingly schizophrenic — a breakdown that leads him to shoot two people in separate instances. On the run, he takes to the woods, spurring the biggest manhunt in California history.
As he explores a father’s legacy of violence and his powerlessness in relating to his equally violent son, T. C. Boyle offers unparalleled psychological insights into the American psyche. Inspired by a true story, The Harder They Come is a devastating and indelible novel from a modern master.
From the bestselling author of comes an action- packed adventure about endangered animals and those who protect them.
Principally set on the wild and sparsely inhabited Channel Islands off the coast of Santa Barbara, T.C. Boyle's powerful new novel combines pulse-pounding adventure with a socially conscious, richly humane tale regarding the dominion we attempt to exert, for better or worse, over the natural world. Alma Boyd Takesue is a National Park Service biologist who is spearheading the efforts to save the island's endangered native creatures from invasive species like rats and feral pigs, which, in her view, must be eliminated. Her antagonist, Dave LaJoy, is a dreadlocked local businessman who, along with his lover, the folksinger Anise Reed, is fiercely opposed to the killing of any species whatsoever and will go to any lengths to subvert the plans of Alma and her colleagues.
Their confrontation plays out in a series of escalating scenes in which these characters violently confront one another, and tempt the awesome destructive power of nature itself. Boyle deepens his story by going back in time to relate the harrowing tale of Alma's grandmother Beverly, who was the sole survivor of a 1946 shipwreck in the channel, as well as the tragic story of Anise's mother, Rita, who in the late 1970s lived and worked on a sheep ranch on Santa Cruz Island. In dramatizing this collision between protectors of the environment and animal rights' activists, Boyle is, in his characteristic fashion, examining one of the essential questions of our time: Who has the right of possession of the land, the waters, the very lives of all the creatures who share this planet with us? will offer no transparent answers, but like , Boyle's classic take on illegal immigration, it will touch you deeply and put you in a position to decide.
A superb new collection from "a writer who can take you anywhere" ()
In the title story of this rich new collection, T.C. Boyle has created so vivid and original a retelling of the story of Victor, the feral boy who was captured running naked through the forests of Napoleonic France, that it becomes not just new but definitive: yes, this is how it must have been. The tale is by turns magical and moving, a powerful investigation of what it means to be human.
There is perhaps no one better than T.C. Boyle at engaging, shocking, and ultimately gratifying his readers while at the same time testing his characters' emotional and physical endurance. The fourteen stories gathered here display both Boyle's astonishing range and his imaginative muscle. Nature is the dominant player in many of these stories, whether in the form of the catastrophic mudslide that allows a cynic to reclaim his own humanity ("La Conchita") or the wind-driven fires that howl through a high California canyon ("Ash Monday"). Other tales range from the drama of a man who spins Homeric lies in order to stop going to work, to that of a young woman who must babysit for a $250,000 cloned Afghan and the sad comedy of a child born to Mexican street vendors who is unable to feel pain.
Brilliant, incisive, and always entertaining, Boyle's short stories showcase the mischievous humor and socially conscious sensibility that have made him one of the most acclaimed writers of our time.
Since his first collection of stories, , appeared in 1979, T.C. Boyle has become an acknowledged master of the form who has transformed the nature of short fiction in our time. Among the fourteen tales in his seventh collection are the comic yet lyrical title story, in which a young man wins a vicious African cat in a bar bet; "Dogology," about a suburban woman losing her identity to a pack of strays; and "The Kind Assassin," which explores the consequences of a radio shock jock's quest to set a world record for sleeplessness. Muscular, provocative, and blurring the boundaries between humans and nature, the funny and the shocking, is Boyle at his best.
A dazzling novel of Frank Lloyd Wright, told from the point of view of the women in his life.
Having brought to life eccentric cereal king John Harvey Kellogg in and sex researcher Alfred Kinsey in , T.C. Boyle now turns his fictional sights on an even more colorful and outlandish character: Frank Lloyd Wright. Boyle's account of Wright's life, as told through the experiences of the four women who loved him, blazes with his trademark wit and invention. Wright's life was one long howling struggle against the bonds of convention, whether aesthetic, social, moral, or romantic. He never did what was expected and despite the overblown scandals surrounding his amours and very public divorces and the financial disarray that dogged him throughout his career, he never let anything get in the way of his larger-than-life appetites and visions. Wright's triumphs and defeats were always tied to the women he loved: the Montenegrin beauty Olgivanna Milanoff; the passionate Southern belle Maud Miriam Noel; the spirited Mamah Cheney, tragically killed; and his young first wife, Kitty Tobin. In , T.C. Boyle's protean voice captures these very different women and, in doing so, creates a masterful ode to the creative life in all its complexity and grandeur.
It was not until their first date that Bridger Martin learned that Dana Halter's deafness was profound and permanent. By then he was falling in love. Not she is in a courtroom, accused of assault with a deadly weapon, auto theft, and passing bad checks, among other things. As Dana and Bridger eventually learn, William "Peck" Wilson has stolen Dana's identity and has been living a blameless life of criminal excess at her expense. And as they set out to find him, they begin to test to its very limits the life they have begun to build together.
Both a suspenseful chase across America and a moving story about language, love, and identity, is a masterful, mind-bending novel from one of American's most versatile and entertaining writers.
A second volume of short fiction — featuring fourteen uncollected stories — from the bestselling author and master of the form.
Few authors write with such sheer love of story and language as T.C. Boyle, and that is nowhere more evident than in his inventive, wickedly funny, and always entertaining short stories. In 1998, brought together the author’s first four collections to critical acclaim. Now, gathers the work from his three most recent collections along with fourteen new tales previously unpublished in book form as well as a preface in which Boyle looks back on his career as a writer of stories and the art of making them.
By turns mythic and realistic, farcical and tragic, ironic and moving, Boyle’s stories have mapped a wide range of human emotions. The fifty-eight stories in this new volume, written over the last eighteen years, reflect his maturing themes. Along with the satires and tall tales that established his reputation, readers will find stories speaking to contemporary social issues, from air rage to abortion doctors, and character-driven tales of quiet power and passion. Others capture timeless themes, from first love and its consequences to confrontations with mortality, or explore the conflict between civilization and wildness. The new stories find Boyle engagingly testing his characters’ emotional and physical endurance, whether it’s a group of giants being bred as weapons of war in a fictional Latin American country, a Russian woman who ignores dire warnings in returning to her radiation-contaminated home, a hermetic writer who gets more than a break in his routine when he travels to receive a minor award, or a man in a California mountain town who goes a little too far in his concern for a widow.
Mordant wit, emotional power, exquisite prose: it is all here in abundance. is a grand career statement from a writer whose imagination knows no bounds.
A trio of uncollected stories from early in T. C. Boyle’s career, shows all of the qualities that had people excited about Boyle from the beginning — great ideas, dazzling writing full of wit, black humor, and wisdom. These three stories were published in journals but have not been included as of yet in any of Boyle’s short story collections. Combined here, all Boyle fans have easy access to reading them now.
On a tiny, desolate, windswept island off the coast of Southern California, two families, one in the 1880s and one in the 1930s, come to start new lives and pursue dreams of self-reliance and freedom. Their extraordinary stories, full of struggle and hope, are the subject of T. C. Boyle’s haunting new novel.
Thirty-eight-year-old Marantha Waters arrives on San Miguel on New Year’s Day 1888 to restore her failing health. Joined by her husband, a stubborn, driven Civil War veteran who will take over the operation of the sheep ranch on the island, Marantha strives to persevere in the face of the hardships, some anticipated and some not, of living in such brutal isolation. Two years later their adopted teenage daughter, Edith, an aspiring actress, will exploit every opportunity to escape the captivity her father has imposed on her. Time closes in on them all and as the new century approaches, the ranch stands untenanted.
And then in March 1930, Elise Lester, a librarian from New York City, settles on San Miguel with her husband, Herbie, a World War I veteran full of manic energy. As the years go on they find a measure of fulfillment and serenity; Elise gives birth to two daughters, and the family even achieves a celebrity of sorts. But will the peace and beauty of the island see them through the impending war as it had seen them through the Depression? Rendered in Boyle’s accomplished, assured voice, with great period detail and utterly memorable characters, this is a moving and dramatic work from one of America’s most talented and inventive storytellers.
In sixteen stories, T.C. Boyle tears through the walls of contemporary society to reveal a world at once comic and tragic, droll and horrific. Boyle introduces us to a death-defying stuntman who rides across the country strapped to the axle of a Peterbilt, and to a retired primatologist who can’t adjust to the “civilized” world. He chronicles the state of romance that requires full-body protection in a disease-conscious age and depicts with aching tenderness the relationship between a young boy and his alcoholic father. These magical and provocative stories mark yet another virtuoso performance from one of America’s most supple and electric literary inventors.
Mythic and realistic, farcical and tragic, says these masterful stories mark 's development from "a prodigy's audacity to something that packs even more of a wallop: mature artistry." They cover everything, from a terrifying encounter between a bunch of suburban adolescents and a murderous, drug-dealing biker, to a touching though doomed love affair between Eisenhower and Nina Khruschev.
Hailed as one of the best short story writers of his generation, T.C. Boyle presents sixteen stories-nine of which appeared in -that highlight the evolving excellence of his inventive, modern, and wickedly witty style. In , Boyle exhibits his maturing themes through an amazing array of subjects in a range of emotional keys. He taps today's headlines, from air rage ("Friendly Skies") to abortion doctors ("Killing Babies"), and delves into more naturalistic themes of quiet power and passion, from a tale of first love ("The Love of My Life") to a story about confronting old age ("Rust"). Combining joy and humor with the dark, intense scenarios that Boyle's audience has come to love, reveals a writer at the top of his form.
T.C. Boyle has proven himself to be a master storyteller who can do just about anything. But even his most ardent admirers may be caught off guard by his ninth novel, for Boyle has delivered something completely unexpected: a serious and richly rewarding character study that is his most accomplished and deeply satisfying work to date.
It is 1970, and a down-at-the-heels California commune has decided to relocate to the last frontier-the unforgiving landscape of interior Alaska-in the ultimate expression of going back to the land. The novel opposes two groups of characters: Sess Harder, his wife Pamela, and other young Alaskans who are already homesteading in the wilderness and the brothers and sisters of Drop City, who, despite their devotion to peace, free love, and the simple life, find their commune riven by tensions. As these two communities collide, their alliances shift and unexpected friendships and dangerous enmities are born as everyone struggles with the bare essentials of life: love, nourishment, and a roof over one's head.
Set partially in the 1980s and 90s and partially in the year 2025, T.C. Boyle's gripping new novel offers a provocative vision of the near future. Boyle tells the story of Tyrone Tierwater, a manager of a suburban shopping center in Peterskill, New York, whose life is completely turned upside down when, late in the 1980s, he meets and then marries Andrea Knowles, a prominent environmental activist. The couple moves to California with Sierra, Ty's daughter from a pervious marriage, and Ty takes up the life of the environmental agitator himself, until he lands in serious trouble with the law. The novel flashes back and forth between this period and the year 2025, which finds the now 75-year old Tyrone seeking out a living in Southern California as the manager of a popstar's private animal menagerie — holding some of the last surviving animals in that part of the world, for by then the rhinos and elephants are extinct and global warming has led to unremitting meteorological cataclsyms. Boyle dovetails these two stories together, examining the ups and downs of Ty's life as a monkeywrencher, the saga of his daughter Sierra who trees its for three years, and revealing what happens to Tyrone in 2025 when Andrea, who had divorced him, comes back into his life.
In 1939, on the campus of Indiana University, a revolution has begun. The stir is caused by Alfred Kinsey, a zoologist who is determined to take sex out of the bedroom. John Milk, a freshman, is enthralled by the professor's daring lectures and over the next two decades becomes Kinsey's right hand man. But Kinsey teaches Milk more than the art of objective enquiry. Behind closed doors, he is a sexual enthusiast of the highest order and as a member of his ‘inner circle' of researchers, Milk is called on to participate in experiments that become increasingly uninhibited…
Haunted by the burden of his family's traitorous past, woozy with pot, cheap wine and sex, and disturbed by a frighteningly real encounter with some family ghosts, Walter van Brunt is about to have a collision with history.
It will lead Walter to search for his lost father. And it will send the story into the past of the Hudson River Valley, from the late 1960's back to the anticommunist riots of the 1940's to the late seventeenth century, where the long-hidden secrets of three families-the aristocratic van Warts, the Native-American Mohonks, and Walter's own ancestors, the van Brunts-will be revealed.