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Drop City | [T. Coraghessan Boyle]

Drop City

T.C. Boyle is hailed as "America's most imaginative contemporary novelist" (Newsweek). In 1970, a California commune pulls up stakes and moves to the harsh interior of Alaska. The members establish Drop City, a back-to-the-land town, on a foundation of peace and free love. But their idealism cannot prevent tension from rippling through the group. The results are anything but predictable in this honest, surprising evocation of a time period and its enduring beliefs.
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Publisher's Summary

The best-selling, PEN-Faulkner award-winning author of The Tortilla Curtain, T.C. Boyle is hailed as "America's most imaginative contemporary novelist" (Newsweek). In 1970, a California commune pulls up stakes and moves to the harsh interior of Alaska. The members establish Drop City, a back-to-the-land town, on a foundation of peace and free love. But their idealism cannot prevent tension from rippling through the group. The results are anything but predictable in this honest, surprising evocation of a time period and its enduring beliefs.

©2003 T. Coraghessan Boyle; (P)2003 Recorded Books, LLC

What the Critics Say

"Boyle understands the multitudinous, sneaky ways innocence insulates itself from ambiguity, but in this novel he leavens that cynical insight with genuine sweetness. 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
"Boyle captures the drop-out-and-get-back-to-the-land spirit of the era, as well as the chill and isolation of the Alaska winter, with a clarity that has earned him a reputation as one of our best writers. Highly recommended." (Library Journal)
"An accomplished, versatile storyteller and discerning social observer, Boyle writes with enthralling momentum and seductive detail." (Booklist)
"Boyle may be the most entertaining writer in America." (Boston Globe)
"One of the most inventive and verbally exuberant writers of his generation." (The New York Times)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.8 (204 )
5 star
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3.7 (44 )
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3.8 (45 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Lynne montclair, NJ, United States 03-15-04
    Lynne montclair, NJ, United States 03-15-04 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Dig this..."

    Boyle's vision has typically been too uncomfortably honest for me. Drop City, although excruciatingly embarrassing to a survivor of the days of peace and love, didn't evoke the usual feelings of hopelessness and the lack of any possible redemption and allowed for real insights. I recommend highly this funny and original book.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Pamela Sonoma, CA, United States 04-18-04
    Pamela Sonoma, CA, United States 04-18-04 Member Since 2003
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    "Characters to Care about"

    I loved this book, my second TC Boyle read! Two stories develop simultaneously, each with oddball yet interesting characters doing things on the edge. When they merge about half way through, I was surprised that these seemingly disparate characters not only mesh well together, but actually bring out some of the best (and worst) in each other. As with "The Tortilla Curtain," the ending might leave some readers feeling like they just dropped of the edge of a cliff--there is more to know, more that I want to know about these characters. And the hopeful note it ends on, also like the previous book, kepts me licking my lips for another taste of their lives.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    JOHN Plantation, FL, United States 10-11-07
    JOHN Plantation, FL, United States 10-11-07 Member Since 2003

    Audible Member Since 2003

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Peace and Love?"

    This is the first T.C. Boyle title I have listened to and I enjoyed it enough to want to listen to more from this author.

    Like many of the other reviewers here, I too was a young person during the 60’s and 70’s. Like looking at an old photo album of ourselves, I was personally embarrassed to be shown just how clueless many of our ‘enlightened’ generation really were. Boyle not only captures much of the lingo used, but many of the misdirected values and attitudes of that time. And so it went with the ‘brothers and sisters’ of Drop City, an agglomeration of individuals proclaiming peace and love, while really wanting not much more than plenty of sex, drugs and rock and roll.

    This book is really two stories of two different worlds, that end up strangely colliding and, somehow, coexisting. The hippie commune in sunny California is evicted by their fed-up neighbors and relocates to wild, forbidding and frigid Alaska. They yearned to get back to nature and live in the bounty of Mother Earth. They soon learn that the nature in Alaska is about as maternal as the savage wolverines who there reside. And winters with temperatures of sixty below zero where sunlight is no more than a rumor, might send even the most alienated peacenik scrambling back to the bosom of the plastic establishment and the creature-comforts of civilization.

    This book is a story of the individuals from opposite environments and contradicting values living in very uncomfortable conditions. I got the very clear message that condition of being human is really the overwhelming common denominator.

    Good story!

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carl West Palm Beach, FL, United States 06-07-05
    Carl West Palm Beach, FL, United States 06-07-05 Member Since 2001
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    "Great Story and Great Reader"

    A story about the "lost" part of the Love Generation. Great writing, amazing language, and fantasic reader makes for a wonderful experience.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mary Madeira Park, BC, Canada 10-15-05
    Mary Madeira Park, BC, Canada 10-15-05 Member Since 2004
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    "Best sixties novel going"

    As a sixties survivor, I'd given up reading books about the period because they fall so far short of capturing the craziness and wonder of those times, but Boyle gives it the best shot I've encountered. He starts with a great cast of dropped-out hippies on a commune in California and moves them to a small town in Alaska where they collide with the local redneck culture. Difficult circumstances put the hippies and their dreamy value system to the test, revealing some weakness and some strength, a lot of drama and a lot of laughs. Boyle's people are so real you think he had to have been there, and his Alaska, too. Most sixties books are one dimensional, whether they view the hippies as heroes or fools, but Boyle reveals them as real people living real struggles. This is just a fundamentally good novel, with great characters, great setting and great action.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Richard Delman San Francisco 11-27-11
    Richard Delman San Francisco 11-27-11 Member Since 2006
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    "Magnificent, compelling: A masterpiece"

    TC Boyle has long been the American master of the short story. His novels, however, are oddly long, windy, wordy and boring...except Drop City. The book is thrilling, the narrator a perfect match. The characters are true, the plot a deeply felt adventure among man, woman and the earth. The beginning is a story of the '70's, set near Guerneville, California. A bunch of dropouts land there, living off the "fat of the land," i.e. the money that one of them has inherited from his uncle. They posture, get stoned and stay that way, make lame fun of the society that has produced them, eat organic everything and remain smugly absorbed in their world view, until Sonoma County discovers the filth they live in. When the bulldozers arrive, they repair to Alaska, naively led by Norm, the guy with the bread. The book grows in scope and ambition as they arrive, so ill-equipped to survive yet so proud of themselves that they fairly burst. Richard Poe tells the story with passion and empathy for these lost children, who could simply be "figures of fun," an expression Boyle has used about other characters in his work. In Alaska they find their fate, which in many instances is not pretty. They also find a couple, Sess and Pamela, who are living out the dream with bravery, courage, smarts and determination to spare. There are true villains and several true heroes. At the end, which you sincerely never want to come, you are so deeply moved by the talent of both Boyle and Poe that you immediately return to Audible looking for a sequel, something that Boyle has never done in his entire career, to my knowledge. Tortilla Curtain is his only other successful novel, I feel, and I hope Audible can get these two guys together again for that. For now, I am reverberating with the book's end, thinking about what will happen to Sess, Pamela, Marco and "Star." This work is up there among my four or five favorite audiobooks, and I will come back to it again and again. It gives me hope for the human condition.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    C Houston, TX, USA 05-29-07
    C Houston, TX, USA 05-29-07 Member Since 2007
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    "Fabulous story, mediocre narrator"

    T.C. Boyle's "Drop City" is a wonderful novel, and one that benefits from being read aloud. The author's command of the language is both masterful and inventive. It is unfortunate that this mischievous, captivating tale is conveyed through a voice both rasping and nasal. (I ended up downloading the audiobook a second time, at a higher quality recording, in hopes this would be ameliorated). In addition, the narrator employs some decidedly odd pronunciations. Granted, T.C. Boyle has an extensive vocabulary - one of the joys of reading his work, in my opinion - but I don't think it is too much to ask that "banal" and "eschew" be pronounced correctly. In spite of all this, I recommend the audiobook.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dennis ST Louis, MO, USA 12-19-04
    Dennis ST Louis, MO, USA 12-19-04
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    "Far out Man!!"

    T.C Boyle knows of what he writes and Richard Poe has the perfect pitch in his narration of this great novel. Anyone living in the 60's will squirm with embarrassment upon hearing the way we were.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chris Mansfield, Texas, United States 01-22-04
    Chris Mansfield, Texas, United States 01-22-04 Member Since 2002

    I enjoy listening to audiobooks while woking in my shop or around the house -sort of mental multitasking.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "interesting listen"

    I found the book a very interesting listen. It was a true picture of one type of lifestyle in the late 60's and early 70's. However, I found it to be little more than an interesting portrait of the times. It ended abruptly, leaving one to wonder, "What was the point?" There was no real conclusion. The author just stopped writing.

    9 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ted Lancaster, PA, United States 01-28-14
    Ted Lancaster, PA, United States 01-28-14 Member Since 2010

    Don't know what I want to be when I grow up. Trip's cool though. Use Audible to make gym-training sane... And rip my imagination.

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    "Stopped Listening - YAWN!"

    I'm old enough to recall the 70s, and apparently Boyle is old enough to recall all of its clichés. Not only did few of the 'alternative people' talk like this, most were too narcotically numbed to think like this. Few spoke in song lyrics or slick-magazine-babble phrases. If you're you're born after 1980 and after a trip to the time, hunt elsewhere. If you want Lord of the Flies in Drop-Out drag… well, this ain't it kid. Better yet, just read "Flies" and skip this altogether. Zzzzzzzzzzz…..

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
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