Friday, August 10, 2007
I just finished reading After The Plague by T C Boyle. This time he's written a book of short stories which is not my favorite genre, but the book was chosen by a reading group in which I participate (Good Reads) at Shelfari. I'm glad I decided to join in the group read for this book.
I knew I liked TC Boyle's style after reading The Road To Wellville years ago, but I like so many authors and have so many books on my TBR pile that I never checked on anything else Boyle may have written. After reading After The Plague, I'll definitely be looking for more of his short stories. His style and his plot development are perfect for the short story forum.
When I read the stories Termination Dust and Killing Babies I was struck by how much the narrators sounded like Holden Caufield would have sounded as an adult. I could hear his paranoid voice coming through loud and clear in the observations he made of others as well as the way he so casually described his own messed up thinking and motives for what he did.
It's difficult for me to choose just one story from this collection as my favorite, but if someone held a pea-shooter to my head I guess I would have to choose My Widow as my first favorite. I think Boyle has a wonderful grasp of the changes people face as they grow old. Rust (my second favorite) would be another illustration of that. The Black and White Sisters would have to be my third favorite. There's something chilling in that story about two sisters -- one who wears nothing but white and the other who wears nothing but black -- that makes it hard to shake that story off after it's been read. There's something quietly nasty about those two women and how they use their money to live a bizarre life style and intimidate others into doing whatever they want.
But, like I said, those choices are only made because my head has been threatened by a pea-shooter. There isn't a bad story among this collection of Boyle's short stories. And I'm definitely going to be looking for more of him. He's a keeper.