T.C. Boyle Stories II: Volume II

 
9781408844571: T.C. Boyle Stories II: 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T.C. Boyle Stories II gathers the work from his three most recent collections along with fourteen new tales previously unpublished in book form as well as a preface in which Boyle looks back on his career as a writer of stories and the art of making them.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.

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About the Author:

T.C. Boyle is the author of fourteen novels, including Drop City, which was a finalist for the National Book Award, and World’s End, winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award. He has also written nine short story collections. He lives near Santa Barbara, California.

From Booklist:

*Starred Review* The first volume of this always exciting writer’s collected short fiction (Stories, 1998) drew refreshed interest in and admiration for his incontestable mastery of the short form. The second volume, containing 58stories written since the previous volume appeared, is poised to garner equal enthusiasm. Readers should not detour around the preface. It is a deft, passionate, colorfully detailed recounting of Boyle’s path to professional story writing as he unabashedly shares the various and fortunate influences on him while he sought self-clarification of what his life’s pursuit should be. His personal theories of story writing emerge, one of the most provocative being, “The professional dictum has always been to write about what you know, but I say write what you don’t know and find something out.” Evidence of this theory at work can be found in “Swept Away,” one of the most effective stories. The setting is far remote from most people’s personal experience: a dark, desolate island in hostile northern climes. During a particularly wild wind-storm, a romance flares between an islander and an American visitor; particulars of the affair are supported by the intense details of the dangerous environment—“Bicycles raced down the street with no more than a ghost at the pedals.” Was Boyle actually “on location”? The reader learns in the preface that these details were largely spawned by Boyle’s imagination, but regardless, the story drips with authentic atmosphere. The volume itself poses the question, Can every story by one author be a masterpiece? Boyle’s brilliant book submits itself as evidence for that possibility. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: The publisher will support this major publishing event with an author tour, lecture venues, and online and social-media promotional campaigns. --Brad Hooper

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