If T.C. Boyle were anything like his characters in his stories, he’d be a hitman-for-hire, killing people on the side with a smile on his face and a twinkle in his eye. Having met the man, he doesn’t look like a serial killer, nor does he act like one, but then all serial killers start out as nice guys. But I digress. And I need to reevaluate my focus, before I’m banned from my reviewing endeavors forever and locked in chains in a basement next to a guy named Moon Shine with a toothpick shoved between two of his missing teeth till the apocalypse.
Divided into four parts and with 58 stories, T.C. BOYLE STORIES II: THE COLLECTED STORIES OF T. CORAGHESSAN BOYLE, VOLUME II: 2 clocks you over the head approximately 944 times and doesn’t let up once. The man can turn a phrase, shove you into the microwave with both hands, and then smack you over the head with a shovel. But at least the journey proved intriguing, the characters interesting, and the stories varied and multi-faceted, otherwise this would have been about as easy to swallow as a kitchen utensil.
Rather than let this review reach epic proportions, I’ll give you a crash course introduction to these gloomy tales using a series of words and phrases: mudslides and shovels and plastic surgeons and lies and the apocalypse and sagging breasts; bad dudes and liars and cheaters and bad relationships and losers and miscreants and maleficence; tragedy and loss and pain and suffering and depression and despair and thieves and fraud and kidnapping and adultery and felonies and misdemeanors; fishing and boats and seashells and Darth Vader and dickheads and assholes and sleet and popping pills; studio sessions and smoking and drinking and reefer and nicotine and slitting throats and kitchen knives; historical and present day; slugs and scorpions and cloning dogs and kissing frogs and child performers and parent extortionists and rabies and beasts and priests and lairs; Romulus and Remus; dust and rust and dig and dug and vultures and crows and nobody knows; banging beginnings and abrupt endings; fornication and penetration and hurried hellos and shortened goodbyes and crazy-ass women and asshat men; excitation and inebriation and speculation and observation and intonation; criminals and punishment and confinement and government and failed experiments; wives and husbands and log cabins and ravens and neighborhood watches and Kentucky bourbon and more plastic surgeons; guns and muzzles and black ski masks and walking hitches and thoroughfares to nowhere and incest; dragonflies and desert skies and no-sex retreats and tarantulas and Pepsodent; campfires and canoes and wieners; dog fighting and Lab victims and inhumane cages and failed first dates; breast cancer and radioactivity and radionuclides and bees and honey and X-rays; male rape and impregnate; downloading porn and Jameson bottles and California beach communities and fresh coffee and croissants and clap and chlamydia and plaintive looks; hybrid tigers and zoo weddings and piñatas and tamales and dead mothers and authors and the wrongfully accused; satires and tall tales and the absurd and first person and third.
I received this book for free through NetGalley.