Synopses & Reviews
Since Descent of Man
appeared in 1979, T. C. Boyle has transformed the nature of short fiction in our time; in a review of his most recent collection, After the Plague
, the New York Times
hailed him as "a writer who can take you anywhere." Which is exactly what Boyle does in Tooth and Claw
These fourteen stories, which have appeared in The New Yorker, GQ, Harper's, McSweeney's, and Playboy, display Boyle's imaginative muscle, emotional sensitivity, and astonishing range. Here you will find the whimsical tales for which Boyle is famous, including "The Kind Assassin," about a radio shock jock who sets the world record for most continuous hours without sleep. Readers will love the comedic drama of the title story, about a man who must contend with a vicious cat from Africa that he has won in a bet. And who could resist the gripping power of "Dogology," about a woman who becomes so obsessed with man's best friend that she begins to lose her own identity to a pack of strays. Boyle here proves once again that he is "a writer who can take any topic and spin a yarn too good to put down" (Men's Journal).
"The threat of imminent demise whether self-inflicted or from an ungentle Mother Nature hovers in Boyle's seventh collection (after the novel The Inner Circle). Ravenous alligators make a memorable cameo in 'Jubilation,' in which a divorced man seeking community and stability moves into a 'model' town erected in a Florida theme park (think Disney's Celebration), only to find that benign surfaces conceal dangerous depths. This theme of civilization versus wilderness also underpins the weird and wonderful 'Dogology,' in which a young woman's frustration with the accoutrements of the human world compels her to run on all fours with a pack of neighborhood dogs. 'Here Comes' one of the collection's more realistic pieces describes the anxious circumstances of a suddenly homeless alcoholic poised to slip through the cracks for good in a Southern California town. Substance abuse figures again in 'Up Against the Wall,' about a young man seduced by a dissolute new crowd, while his parents' marital discord and the Vietnam War tug at the edges of his drugged-out awareness. The wired rhythm of Boyle's prose and the enormity of his imagination make this collection irresistible; with it he continues to shore up his place as one of the most distinctive, funniest and finest writers around. (On sale Sept. 12)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Darker tones and an impressive range of subjects dominate this impressive collection....Vintage Boyle, and not to be missed." Kirkus Reviews
"Boyle provides ample delights a robust sense of place, crackerjack dialogue, real stories on the way to his expected endings....Boyle's stories are consistently very good, but rarely only one or two in this collection terrific." Laura Miller, The New York Times
"Boyle's imagination is protean, and his prose transporting....Boyle's visions of our perverse attempts to defy and deny nature are darkly humorous and wisely trenchant..." Booklist
"This strong collection will delight Boyle's longtime fans and win him converts." Library Journal
"[A] medley of hits and misses....But when he scores, he scores with style." The Oregonian (Portland, OR)
"Boyle has a seemingly limitless gift for the outrageous, sometimes grotesque, often incredible situation....Many of these stories are dazzling, some just quite good. But each one is worth the time it takes to read it." Rocky Mountain News
"Readers shouldn't be scared away by the gloom of this collection. Boyle is too good a writer to eliminate the fun, and his deadpan wit is on display throughout." Cleveland Plain Dealer
"No doubt about it, Boyle is a storytelling manipulator....But whether he is breaking your heart or making you laugh, you just don't care because he is so darned good at it." San Francisco Chronicle
"[A] writer of astonishing range and imagination, fierce intelligence and trenchant wit. Those gifts are dazzlingly displayed in this collection of 14 short stories, each a fully realized world shot through with perils either natural or man-made." Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
These 14 stories, which have appeared in The New Yorker, GQ, Harper's, McSweeney's, and Playboy, display Boyle's imaginative muscle and range.
Since his first collection of stories, Descent of Man, appeared in 1979, T.C. Boyle has become an acknowledged master of the form who has transformed the nature of short fiction in our time. Among the fourteen tales in his seventh collection are the comic yet lyrical title story, in which a young man wins a vicious African cat in a bar bet; "Dogology," about a suburban woman losing her identity to a pack of strays; and "The Kind Assassin," which explores the consequences of a radio shock jock's quest to set a world record for sleeplessness. Muscular, provocative, and blurring the boundaries between humans and nature, the funny and the shocking, Tooth and Claw is Boyle at his best.
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, GQ, Esquire, and Playboy.
Table of Contents
Tooth and Claw When I Woke Up This Morning, Everything I Had Was Gone
The Kind Assassin
The Swift Passage of the Animals
All the Wrecks I've Crawled Out Of
Blinded by the Light
Tooth and Claw
The Doubtfulness of Water: Knight's Journey to New York, 1702
Up Against the Wall