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Works by
T.C. Boyle
(aka T. Coraghessan Boyle)
(Writer)
[1948 - ]

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Profile created October 25, 2006
Fiction
  • Water Music (1980, Republished 1998)
    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 (1984)
    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 (1985)
  • Post Mortem Effects (1987)
  • World's End (1987) -- Winner PEN/Faulkner 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 ..." Amazon.com
  • The Road to Wellville (1993)
    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 plot twists.
  • The Tortilla Curtain (1995)
    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.
  • Riven Rock (1998)
    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 (2000)
    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 justly famous.
  • The Inner Circle (2004)
    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 professionally.

    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 in love.

    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.

Short Stories
  • Descent of Man: Stories (1974)
    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 (1990)
    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 (1989)
    In sixteen stories,
    T. Coraghessan Boyle tears through the walls of contemporary society to reveal a world at once comic and tragic, droll and horrific.
  • Without a Hero (1994)
    With these short stories, Boyle displays once again a virtuosity and versatility are in literature today.
  • Greasy Lake and Other Stories (1985)
  • T.C. Boyle Stories (1998)
    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 (2001)
    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 (2005)
    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 too.
  • Tooth and Claw (2005)
    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 his best.
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