San Miguel

San Miguel

by T. C. Boyle


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The brilliant and acclaimed New York Times bestseller from the author of The Women and When the Killing’s Done

Just off the coast of Southern California, two families—one in the 1880s and one in the 1930s—come to desolate, windswept San Miguel Island in search of self-reliance, freedom, and a new start in their lives. Both Marantha Waters and Elise Lester strive to help their war veteran husbands pursue their dreams but must themselves grapple with the more nebulous hardships of raising a family in brutal isolation. Boyle “skillfully captures that tension-filled quietude” (The New Times Book Review) in this lyrical, intimate, and unforgettable novel.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780147509758
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 09/24/2013
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 508,729
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

T.C. Boyle is the author of fourteen novels and nine short story collections and is a member of the Academy of Arts and Letters. He lives near Santa Barbara, California.


Santa Barbara California

Date of Birth:

December 2, 1948

Place of Birth:

Peekskill, New York


B.A. in music, State University of New York at Potsdam, 1970; Ph.D. in literature, Iowa University, 1977

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

Praise for San Miguel

“An absorbing work of historical fiction based on the lives of two real families who resided on San Miguel island in the 19th and 20th centuries…the intensity of Boyle’s narrative never lets it flag.” –Ron Charles, The Washington Post

“A saga of women, three women brought to the island by men…Boyle has carved out a beautiful, damp, atmospheric novel, sharp and exacting…[his] spirited novels are a reckoning with consequence laced with humor, insight, and pathos.” –Terry Tempest Williams, The San Francisco Chronicle

“Throughout his career, Boyle has shown a fascination with remote, forgotten places as a kind of stage where various shadings of the American character are revealed…As always, he fills his pages with wonderfully precise character studies and lush descriptions of the physical landscape.” –Hector Tobar, The Los Angeles Times

“The story of two families who lived on the windiest and wildest of the Channel Islands…the layering of these isolated lives, the archeology of human habitation, the different responses to self-sufficiency make this one of the most satisfying novels in Boyle’s canon.” –Susan Salter Reynolds, Los Angeles Magazine

“In T.C. Boyle’s San Miguel, two strong women generations apart are seduced and mistreated by the same powerful entity – not a man but a starkly beautiful, barely inhabited island off the California coast…Boyle portrays the heartbreaking toll San Miguel takes on these couples in a novel as beguiling as the island itself.” O The Oprah Magazine

“In his latest novel, this prolific man of letters focuses on one of his most engaging subjects: the inner lives of women…Boyle devotes meticulous attention to the unforgiving weather and the challenges of sheer survival, to the mute compromises of marriage and to the unspoken experience of all women who rage, endure, and prevail.” More Magazine

“The pioneer mystique – its romance, and its disillusions – is the subject of T.C. Boyle’s San Miguel, in which the promise of a natural paradise draws two adventure-seeking women to the remote Channel Islands, fifty years apart.”

“Boyle’s epic saga of struggle, loss, and resilience tackles Pacific pioneer history with literary verve…[he] subtly interweaves the fates of Native Americans, Irish immigrants, Spanish and Italian migrant workers, and Chinese fisherman into the Waters’ and Lesters’ lives, but the novel is primarily a history of the land itself, unchanging despite its various visitors and residents, and as beautiful, imperfect, and unrelenting as Boyle’s characters.” – Publishers Weekly

“A richly rewarding read…As ever, Boyle’s prose is vivid and precise, and he imbues his subjects with wonderful complexity. The perils and pleasures of island living, the limits to natural resources, and the echoes of war all provide ample grist for his mill.”ALA Booklist

“The fourteenth novel from Boyle returns to the Channel Islands off the coast of California, a setting which served him so well in his previous novel…What may seem to some like paradise offers no happy endings in this fine novel.”Kirkus Reviews

Customer Reviews

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San Miguel 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is one of THOSE books. A rugged story about strong people and hard times in a lonely and tough existence. Makes you wonder what you would do under extreme conditions in an extreme environment. I am reading it now. It is one of those books that you almost don't want to finish reading. Good for the soul!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Do you wanna have a bad time?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Name// I has no name. e.o. Nah it be Kassandra Belle Grace Lough<br> Nicknames// Kassie. Kass. Kassandro. That girl. XD<br> Age// Mhm none if yo business. :P<br> Looks// Blonde hair that brushes her waist, skyblue eyes, pale skin, nose belly and ears pierced. 4'10 85 pounds. Meh.<br> Remember this is rp I don't look like this in real life. Friends// Aqua. Andy. Heath. James. Erm? Shunter when he's here.<br> Likes// My bed. My blankets. My pillow. I like sleep. My friends. Movies. Kickstarts. Animals. <br> Dislikes// Oh honeeeeeeeyyyyyy that list be longggggggg. ;D<br> Status// Single<br> Crush// Hah! <br> Other// NAH NAH HONEY I'M GOOD!!!!!!! Wait... I had a daughter but she died so I adopted my cousins daughter Mallory and she's the bestttt.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Interesting story, I love the way he writes but Tortilla Curtain is stilkl his best
MJPost More than 1 year ago
TC Boyle writes women well. The three women are much more complex than the men they are bound to on an island that seems at first desolate but is as rich in its own ecosystem as the women are in their interior lives. A beautiful narrative. Not as funny as some other Boyle novels, but a very good read.
GrammyReading More than 1 year ago
sand and wind...lots of it..over time, circumstance, and generations....heard the wind..smelled the water..felt the sand in my face..experienced the toughness, the strength..and the weakness..through the anticipation, the rough realization...the culmination.....good, good read...enjoy it!...and be blessed
gutdoc More than 1 year ago
T.C. Boyle continues to amaze me with the variety of his novels. Each one is interesting and informative as well as entertaining. This novel is no exception. The tension of life on this isolated island and the people who inhabit it are very real.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Enjoyed this novel. Would recommend it to anyone interested in romance that does not always turn out the way you want it to.
SadieMD More than 1 year ago
I don't even have to read it to know it's brilliant. I love the way each of his novels is so different. He is a fabulous writer.