Synopses & Reviews
T. C. Boyle's seventh novel transforms two characters straight out of history into rich mythic figures whose tortured love story is as heartbreaking as it is hilarious.
It is the dawn of the twentieth century when the beautiful, budding feminist Katherine Dexter falls in love with Stanley McCormick, son of a millionaire inventor. The two wed, but before the marriage is consummated, Stanley experiences a nervous breakdown and is diagnosed as a schizophrenic sex maniac. Locked up for the rest of his life at Riven Rock, the family's California mansion, Stanley is treated by a series of confident doctors determined to cure him. But his true salvation lies with Katherine who, throughout her career as a scientist and suffragette, continues a patient vigil from beyond the walls of Riven Rock, never losing hope that one day Stanley will be healed.
Blending social history with some of the most deliciously dark humor ever written, Boyle employs his hallmark virtuoso prose to tell the story of America's age of innocence and of a love affair that is as extraordinary as it is unforgettable.
"Boyle combines his gift for historical re-creation with his dazzling powers as a storyteller....Riven Rock is as romantic as it is informative, as colorful as it is convincing." The Boston Globe
"[D]ark-hued and deftly plotted....Vintage Boyle: a freakishly inventive black comedy, populated with irresistible eccentrics, that leaves a bracing and bitter aftertaste." Kirkus Reviews
"In Boyle's assured hands, this odd American tale turns into a bracing examination of misogyny, mental illness, and the shadowy side of love." The New Yorker
"Boyle has taken the depressing story of Stanley R. McCormick...and turned it into a thrilling, romantic, careening tale....This is a splendid book, a noble achievement, a work of art." Salon
"[A] long, meandering and fluently written book that has some truly affecting moments but that ultimately reduces two of its three main characters to caricatures." Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
"Wise and touching....Boyle's best novel to date." Seattle Times
"Riven Rock resembles The Road to Wellville...but here the fact-based love story takes precedence over satire. This affecting and surprisingly mature novel is Boyle's best book since Water Music." Library Journal
"A compelling combination of historical truth and literary invention." Chicago Tribune
About the Author
T.C. Boyle is the New York Times
bestselling author of ten novels and has published seven collections of short fiction. He received the PEN/Faulkner Award for his novel World's End
and the PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in Short Fiction. His stories appear regularly in the New Yorker
, and Playboy
Visit his Web site at www.tcboyle.com.