Profile created October 25, 2006
Water Music (1980,
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.
Budding Prospects: A Pastoral
All Felix Nasmyth and friends have to do is harvest a crop of Cannabis
sativa ... and half a million tax-free dollars will be theirs.
But they haven't reckoned on nosey Northern California-style
neighbors, torrential rain, demands of the flesh, and Felix's
improbable new love, a wayward sculptress on whose behalf he
undertakes a one-man vendetta against a drug-busting state trooper
named Jerpbak. As their deal escalates through crisis to
nightmare, their dreams of easy money get nipped in the bud.
Only the Dead Know Brooklyn
Post Mortem Effects (1987)
(1987) -- Winner
Award for 1988
T. Coraghessan Boyle, author of
Water Music, a hilarious reinvention of the exploration of the
Niger, returns to his native New York State with this darkly comic
historical drama exploring several generations of families in the
Hudson River Valley. Walter Van Brunt begins the book with a
catastrophic motorcycle accident that sends him back on a historical
investigation, eventually encompassing the frontier struggles of the
late 1600s. Any book that opens with a three-page "list of principal
characters" and includes chapters titled "The Last of the Kitchawanks,"
"The Dunderberg Imp," and "Hail, Arcadia!" promises a welcome tonic to
the self-conscious inwardness of much contemporary fiction; World's
End delivers ..."
The Road to Wellville
Will Lightbody is a man with a stomach ailment whose only sin is
loving his wife, Eleanor, too much. Eleanor is a nut of the
first stripe, and when in 1907 she journeys to Dr. John Harvey
Kellogg's infamous Battle Creek spa to live out the vegetarian ethos,
poor Will goes too.
So begins a comic look at turn-of-the-century fanatics in search of
the magic pill to prolong their lives -- or the profit to be had in
manufacturing it. The Road to Wellville is brimming with
a Dickensian cast of characters and is laced with wildly wonderful
The Tortilla Curtain
The author of East Is East replays the tragi-comic meeting of
representatives from two different cultures with nothing in common.
This book calmly grabs hold with an unexpected suspense.
In Riven Rock, his most fully realized and
compassionate novel to date, T.C. Boyle transforms two characters
straight out of history into rich mythic creations whose tortured love
and epic story is intimate enough to break our hearts. These
unforgettable characters invite the reader's care as never before in a
Boyle novel. With the scope of E.L. Doctorow's Ragtime, Riven Rock
uses real American subjects to come to terms with love and loss in the
early years of our century. Boyle anchors his tale with the remarkable
and courageous Katherine Dexter. Wed to Stanley McCormick -
thirty-one-year-old son of the millionaire inventor of the Reaper, and
a schizophrenic sexual maniac - Katherine struggles to cure him while
he is locked up in his Santa Barbara mansion and forbidden the mere
sight of a women - above all, his wife. Throughout her career as a
scisntist ad suffragette, her faith never wavers: one day, one of the
psychiatrists she finds for her husband will, she insists, return him
to her, free of demons, a yearned-for lover. "Still America's most
imaginative contemporary novelist" (Newsweek), Boyle weaves his
hallmark virtuoso prose onto a recreation of America's age of
innocence against a backdrop of wealth and privilege. And at the
center of Riven Rock are its people, somehow bound together in thier
deep sense of fidelity to each other.
A Friend of the Earth
Funny and touching, antic and affecting . . .
while Boyle's humor is as black as ever, he demonstrates that satire
can coexist with psychological realism, comedy with compassion."
(Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times)
In the tradition of The Tortilla Curtain, T.C. Boyle blends
idealism and satire in a story that addresses the universal questions
of human love and the survival of the species. In the year 2025 global
warming is a reality, the biosphere has collapsed, and 75-year-old
environmentalist Ty Tierwater is eking out a living as care-taker of a
pop star's private zoo when his second ex-wife re-enters his life. .
. . Both gritty and surreal, A Friend of the Earth represents a
high-water mark in Boyle's career-his deep streak of social concern is
effortlessly blended here with genuine compassion for his characters
and the spirit of sheer exhilarating playfulness readers have come to
expect from his work.
Drop City (2003)
It is 1970, and a down-at-the-heels California
commune devoted to peace, free love, and the simple life has decided
to relocate to the last frontier—the unforgiving landscape of interior
Alaska—in the ultimate expression of going back to the land. Armed
with the spirit of adventure and naïve optimism, the inhabitants of
“Drop City” arrive in the wilderness of Alaska only to find their
utopia already populated by other young homesteaders. When the two
communities collide, 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. Rich, allusive, and
unsentimental, T.C. Boyle’s ninth novel is a tour de force infused
with the lyricism and take-no-prisoners storytelling for which he is
The Inner Circle
Fresh on the heels of his New York Times
bestselling and National Book Award- nominated novel, Drop City, T.C.
Boyle has spun an even more dazzling tale that will delight both his
longtime devotees and a legion of new fans. Boyle’s tenth novel, The
Inner Circle has it all: fabulous characters, a rollicking plot, and
more sex than pioneering researcher Dr. Alfred Kinsey ever dreamed of
documenting . . . well, almost. A love story, The Inner Circle is
narrated by John Milk, a virginal young man who in 1940 accepts a job
as an assistant to Dr. Alfred Kinsey, an extraordinarily charming
professor of zoology at Indiana University who has just discovered his
life’s true calling: sex. As a member of Kinsey’s "inner circle" of
researchers, Milk (and his beautiful new wife) is called on to
participate in sexual experiments that become increasingly
uninhibited—and problematic for his marriage. For in his later years
Kinsey (who behind closed doors is a sexual enthusiast of the first
order) ever more recklessly pushed the boundaries both personally and
While Boyle doesn’t resist making the most of this
delicious material, The Inner Circle is at heart a very moving and
very loving look at sex, marriage, and jealousy that will have readers
everywhere reassessing their own relationships—because, in the end,
"love is all there is."
Talk Talk (2006)
The first time Bridger saw Dana she was dancing
barefoot, her hair aflame in the red glow of the club, her body
throbbing with rhythms and cross-rhythms that only she could hear. He
was mesmerized. That night they were both deaf, mouthing to each other
over the booming bass. And it was not until their first date, after he
had agonized over what CD to play in the car, that Bridger learned
that her deafness was profound and permanent. By then, he was falling
Now she is in a courtroom, her legs shackled, as a
list of charges is read out. She is accused of assault with a deadly
weapon, auto theft, and passing bad checks, among other things.
Clearly there has been a terrible mistake. A man—his name is William
“Peck” Wilson as Dana and Bridger eventually learn—has been living a
blameless life of criminal excess at Dana’s expense. And as Dana and
Bridger set out to find him, they begin to test to its limits the life
they have started to build together.
Talk Talk is both a
thrilling road trip across America and a moving story about language,
love, and identity from one of America’s finest novelists.
Descent of Man: Stories
In seventeen slices of life that defy the expected and launch us into
the absurd, Boyle offers his unique view of the world.
East Is East
Young Japanese seaman Hiro Tanaka, inspired by dreams of the City of
Brotherly Love and trained in the ways of the samurai, jumps ship off
the coast of Georgia and swims into a net of rabid rednecks, genteel
ladies, descendants of slaves, and the denizens of an artist's colony.
The result is a sexy, hilarious tragicomedy of thwarted expectations
and mistaken identity, love, jealousy, and betrayal.
If the River Was Whiskey: Stories
In sixteen stories,
T. Coraghessan Boyle tears through the walls of
contemporary society to reveal a world at once comic and tragic, droll
Without a Hero
With these short stories, Boyle displays once again a virtuosity and
versatility are in literature today.
Greasy Lake and Other Stories
T.C. Boyle Stories
T. C. Boyle is one of the most inventive and wickedly funny short
story writers at work today. Over the course of twenty-five years,
Boyle has built up a body of short fiction that is remarkable in its
range, richness, and exuberance. His stories have won accolades for
their irony and black humor, for their verbal pyrotechnics, for their
fascination with everything bizarre and queasy, and for the
razor-sharp way in which they dissect America's obsession with image
and materialism. Gathered together here are all of the stories that
have appeared in his four previous collections, as well as seven that
have never before appeared in book form. Includes seven never
before published in book form.
After the Plague: And Other Stories
Few authors in America write with such sheer love of story, language,
and imagination as T. C. Boyle, and nowhere is that passion more
evident than in his inventive, wickedly funny, and widely praised
short stories. In After the Plague, his sixth collection of
stories, Boyle exhibits his maturing themes, speaking to contemporary
social issues in a range of emotional keys. The sixteen stories
gathered here, nine of which have appeared in The New Yorker
and three in The O'Henry Prize Stories and Best American
Short Stories volumes, display Boyle's astonishing range as he
rings his changes on everything from air rage ("Friendly Skies") to
abortion doctors ("Killing Babies"). There are also stories of quiet
passion here, such as "The Love of My Life," which deals with first
love and its consequences, and "My Widow," a touching portrait of the
writer's own possible future. The collection ends with the brilliant
title story, a whimsical and imaginative vision of a disease-ravaged
Earth and the few inheritors of a new Eden. Presented with
characteristic wit and intelligence, these stories will delight
readers in search of the latest news of the chaotic, disturbing, and
achingly beautiful world in which we live.
The Human Fly and Other Stories
His many and varied novels are part of the American literary
landscape—but one of the best ways to appreciate T. C. Boyle is
through his richly imagined short fiction. Boyle’s kaleidoscopic humor
and wit, his keen, unforgiving take on American life, and his
all-too-human protagonists all contibute to making his a unique voice.
Here is a collection of classic Boyle stories about teenagers
(including the O. Henry Award–winning "The Love of My Life") that will
speak directly to them, as well as to anyone who was once a teenager
Tooth and Claw
Since his first collection of stories, Descent of Man, 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, Tooth and Claw is Boyle at
Tales of the Diamond: Selected Gems of Baseball Fiction (1996) with Laurence J. Hyman, Laura Thorpe, Ron Fimrite, Miles Hyman (Illustrator), William Price Fox, Wilbur Schramm, P. G. Wodehouse, James Thurber, Damon Runyon, Thomas Wolfe, Zane Grey, Garrison Keillor, and Shirley Jackson
Best of Playboy Fiction (1997) with Joyce Carol Oates, David Foster Wallace, John Collier, and Billy Crystal
Welcome to the Monkey House (Best of Playboy Fiction, Vol 2) with Tom Robbins, Roald Dahl, Jane Smiley, and Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
Audio [abridged) (1996)
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