|Product dimensions:||5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.80(d)|
About the Author
T.C. Boyle has published fourteen novels and ten collections of short stories. He won the PEN/Faulkner award in 1988 for his novel World’s End, and the Prix Médicis étranger for The Tortilla Curtain in 1995, as well as the 2014 Henry David Thoreau award for excellence in nature writing. He is a Distinguished Professor of English at the University of Southern California and lives in Santa Barbara.
Hometown:Santa Barbara California
Date of Birth:December 2, 1948
Place of Birth:Peekskill, New York
Education:B.A. in music, State University of New York at Potsdam, 1970; Ph.D. in literature, Iowa University, 1977
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I started reading T. C. Boyle when his name on the cover was T.Coraghessan Boyle and have loved nearly everything. The Relive Box is a collection of twelve short stories many of them slightly speculative, think science fiction that is just ten to twenty years out, when climate change brings droughts in the Southwest and rising oceans that overflow islands in Alaska. The title story is The Relive Box which was originally published in The New Yorker. A father and daughter mourn the loss of his wife and reconnect with her through the Relive Box that allows people to relive memories. They are addicted to the box, to the detriment of school and work, but the irony is while both are doing the same thing, they do it separately, isolating themselves. It’s an interesting idea….and I found myself wondering about what I would like to relive and whether that would be a good idea. Are We Not Men? imagines the future of genetic manipulation, the genie completely out of the bottle with pink pit bulls and designer children. It has all the haplessness and ennui of real life, authentically unsatisfying. The Five Pound Burrito seems to place Boyle firmly on the side of being ordinary and dissatisfied when a restauranteur hits a marketing bonanza that brings him interesting visitors. I loved Surtsey, the story of a young boy whose island is disappearing into the ocean during a tsunami. You Don’s Miss the Water (’til the Well Runs Dry) is an excellent story that captures what I both like and dislike about Boyle’s short stories. There is the utterly inane introduction that had me rolling my eyes. The first paragraph was so awful I put the book away for a few hours and read something else. It begins with this unnecessary libel of women, “A light rain fell at the end of the second year of the drought, a female rain, soft and indecisive” and then it goes on to “if we yearned for a hard soaking rain, a macho rain crashing down in all its drain-rattling potency, we just shrugged and went about our business.” I can hear The Village People now, “Macho, macho rain. Gotta have a macho rain….” But then I came back, read the rest of the story, a relatively quiet story about a family struggling with water restrictions during a drought. They go from proud and committed water savers, but the unending monotony of it, of sharing baths with too little water, of saving their bath water to water their trees, the monotony causing strain on their relationship that originates from without but is felt within. The stories are uneven. Some not appealing to me, mostly because the people don’t appeal to me. Boyle doesn’t try to create appealing characters. His great skill is putting us into the story quickly, creating the environment, putting the people in it, and then letting them be ordinary. Ordinariness is what he has mastered. These are not heroes or villains, just ordinary people making do the best they can. I received an e-galley of The Relive Box from the publisher through Edelweiss.
The Relive Box and Other Stories by T. C. Boyle is a highly recommended collection of twelve short stories. Contents include: The Relive Box: A device that allows people to revisit and relive scenes from their past slowly takes over their current lives. She's the Bomb: A non-graduating college senior goes to desperate measures to stop the ceremony. Are We Not Men? In a future where people custom-design children and pets through transgenic reproduction. The Five-Pound Burrito: A magic realism tale of a man who has a vision to offer his customers a five pound burrito. The Argentine Ant: A plague of ants invades the house a mathematician rented for his family Surtsey: A storm is flooding the whole island and everyone is sheltered at the school. Theft and Other Issues: A man's car is stolen with his girlfriend's dog inside it. Subtract One Death: Death becomes too close and personal for a novelist. You Don't Miss Your Water ('Til The Well Runs Dry): The California drought worsens and water restrictions increase. The Designee: An elderly man falls for a scam artist's pitch. Warrior Jesus: A man channels his anger into making disturbing comic-book superhero episodes. The Fugitive: A man with an illness is required by authorities to wear a mask at all times. Boyle's incredible genius is on full display in this varied collection. The topics of his stories span a vast field of topics, from technology to nature, and can be about ordinary circumstances to futuristic developments. He has the ability to capture people amid their struggles with humor, social conscious, and intelligence. This skill, combined with his strength of descriptions and the narrative voice he gives his characters, shines through in these twelve stories. I enjoyed the majority of these stories a great deal. It's always a pleasure to read a well-written short story. 4.5 Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of HarperCollins.