The Problem with T.C. Boyle

I have a problem with T.C. Boyle.  Every time I start a book by T.C., every time, I find myself in awe of the gorgeous writing. . . but lacking any desire to read through it to find out what story may lurk behind the facade.

Without fail.  Short stories included--though I get through those by dint of length.  Tackling what seems like the longest novel ever written right now.  I'm sure it's note--I'm certain that Julie Orringer's The Invisible Bridge holds that record--what was it, four times as long as A la recherche du temps perdu?

But When the Killing's Done is a close competitor.  Here's to hoping I get over the slump soon.

from When the Killing's Done
T. C. Boyle

It was only then that she became aware of the height of the waves coming at them, rearing black volcanoes of water that took everything out from under the boat and put it right back again, all the while blasting the windows as if there were a hundred fire trucks out there with their hoses all turned on at once. And here was the rhythm, up, down, up, and a rinse of the windows with every repetition: "Where are we?" she heard herself ask.

As I said, beautiful prose (although one is a bit put-off by "black volcanoes of water"  really?  Really? C'mon, I've seen waves and waves and waves, and none of them every said to me, "I am a volcano."  Even the great wave of Kanagawa distinguishes the two.


  1. I pretty much agree...hard to get into his plots, although "Drop City" seemed the exception for me at least.

  2. I like this book, my first by T.C. Boyle! I think his writing captures rather well how it feels to be in a smallish boat during a wind driven storm.


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