T.C. Boyle Stories II: The Collected Stories of T. Coraghessan Boyle, Volume II
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A second volume of collected short fiction from the bestselling author and winner of the 2015 Rea Award for the Short Story
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, T.C. Boyle Stories brought together the author’s first four collections to critical acclaim. Now, T.C. Boyle Stories II gathers the work from his three most recent collections along with fourteen new tales previously unpublished in book form as well as a preface in which Boyle looks back on his career as a writer of stories and the art of making them.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. T.C. Boyle Stories II is a grand career statement from a writer whose imagination knows no bounds.
place was untouched and pristine, with a sweeping view of the sea, and I lit some candles and poured us each a glass of twenty-year-old Bordeaux, after which we feasted on canned crab, truffles, cashews and marinated artichoke hearts. I’d like to tell you that she was beautiful, because that’s the way it should be, the way of the fable and the fairy tale, but she wasn’t—or not conventionally anyway. She was a little heavier than she might have been ideally, but that was a relief after stringy
being would discover in ten years of sitting behind the wheel of a car or standing at the lunch counter in a deli or even hiking the Alps. What she was doing, or attempting to do, was nothing short of reordering her senses so that she could think like a dog and interpret the whole world—not just the human world—as dogs did. Why? Because no one had ever done it before. Whole hordes wanted to be primatologists or climb into speedboats and study whales and dolphins or cruise the veldt in a Land
loved the way Admiral sprang to life when he saw her walk through the door, loved the dance of his fur, his joyous full-throated bark, the feel of his wet whiskered snout in the cupped palm of her hand. But Erhard had made her feel something else altogether. What was it? A sexual stirring, yes, absolutely—after the third beer, she’d found herself leaning into him for the first of a series of deep, languid, adhesive kisses—but it was more than that. There was something transgressive in what he
limbs. His garment was soiled in the muck. Both Bonnaterre and the gardener stood over him, remonstrating, but he paid them no mind: he was thirsty; he was drinking. When he’d done drinking, he rose and defecated on the spot (another curiosity: he defecated while standing and squatted to micturate), dirtying the skirts of his gown without a second thought. And then, as if this weren’t enough, he made a snatch for something in the reeds and had it in his mouth before they could intervene—a frog,
barely cover dinner at Eladio.” “Yes,” he said, the draft raw on the left side of his face. “Yes, what?” “Yes, I’m kidding.” She might have had something more to say about it, but really, what did it bother her what he did—she had a car and a credit card, and a night alone never killed anybody—but she just bunched her chin and squinted her eyes as if to get a better read on him. The sleet whispered over the pavement. The air tasted of metal. “My god,” she said. “What did you do to