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Drop Cityby T.C. Boyle
"Boyle has long produced political novels that make you hanker for a good book club. In Drop City, which portrays a raucous West Coast commune in the 1960s, he shows the same elaborate command of historical detail and social milieu that he demonstrated so effectively in Tortilla Curtain, which dealt with Mexican immigration into California in the 1980s, and Friend of the Earth, which parodied radical environmentalists. But Drop City may be his most sophisticated work to date because here he seems more willing than ever to let the colorful characters he creates follow their own paths. The social studies final exam questions that risked taking over his previous novels — à la Sinclair Lewis — here recede into subtler and more unresolvable themes." Ron Charles, The Christian Science Monitor (read the entire CSM review)
Synopses & Reviews
T.C. Boyle has proven himself to be a master storyteller who can do just about anything. But even his most ardent admirers may be caught off guard by his ninth novel, for Boyle has delivered something completely unexpected: a serious and richly rewarding character study that is his most accomplished and deeply satisfying work to date.
It is 1970, and a down-at-the-heels California commune has decided to relocate to the last frontier-the unforgiving landscape of interior Alaska-in the ultimate expression of going back to the land. The novel opposes two groups of characters: Sess Harder, his wife Pamela, and other young Alaskans who are already homesteading in the wilderness and the brothers and sisters of Drop City, who, despite their devotion to peace, free love, and the simple life, find their commune riven by tensions. As these two communities collide, their alliances shift and unexpected friendships and dangerous enmities are born as everyone struggles with the bare essentials of life: love, nourishment, and a roof over one's head.
Drop City is not a satire or a nostalgic look at the sixties, though its evocation of the period is presented with a truth and clarity that no book on that era has achieved. This is a surprising book, a rich, allusive, and nonsentimental look at the ideals of a generation and their impact on today's radically transformed world. Above all, it is a novel infused with the lyricism and take-no-prisoners storytelling for which T.C. Boyle is justly famous.
"Boyle has a wonderful eye for the comedy of imposture....While the Day-Glo of the hippie era has long since faded, this novel brings it all back home — and helps us see how much in the American grain it all really was." Publishers Weekly
"What is surprising is how soulful Drop City frequently is, and how much human complexity Boyle manages to smuggle in....Boyle [provides] one of the funniest, and at the same time most subtle, novels we've had about the hippie era's slow fade to black." Dwight Garner, The New York Times Book Review
"America's most imaginative contemporary novelist." Newsweek
"Boyle has worked this territory before in several sensationally effective stories, but never with such telling detail and devastating characterizations....Probably the fullest picture of the hippie culture of the late '60s since Marge Piercy's early fiction, and one of Boyle's best." Kirkus Reviews
"On of the most inventive and verbally exuberant writers of his generation." The New York Times
"Boyle may be the most entertaining writer in America." Boston Globe
Boyle has proven himself to be a master storyteller who can do just about anything. But even his most ardent admirers may be caught off guard by his ninth novel, for Boyle has delivered something completely unexpected: a serious and richly rewarding character study that is his most accomplished and deeply satisfying work to date.
It is 1970, and a down-at-the-heels California commune devoted to peace, free love, and the simple life has decided to relocate to the last frontier—the unforgiving landscape of interior Alaska—in the ultimate expression of going back to the land. Armed with the spirit of adventure and naïve optimism, the inhabitants of “Drop City” arrive in the wilderness of Alaska only to find their utopia already populated by other young homesteaders. When the two communities collide, unexpected friendships and dangerous enmities are born as everyone struggles with the bare essentials of life: love, nourishment, and a roof over one’s head. Rich, allusive, and unsentimental, T.C. Boyle’s ninth novel is a tour de force infused with the lyricism and take-no-prisoners storytelling for which he is justly famous.
About the Author
T.C. Boyle is the bestselling author of After the Plague, T.C. Boyle Stories, Riven Rock, The Tortilla Curtain, Without a Hero, The Road to Wellville, East Is East, If the River Was Whiskey, World's End (winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award), Greasy Lake, Budding Prospects, Water Music, and Descent of Man (all available from Penguin). His fiction regularly appears in major American magazines, including The New Yorker, GQ, The Paris Review, Playboy, and Esquire.
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