From silly chuckles to rueful ironic glee to deep cosmic laughter, this new volume of humorous tales samples the best of recent seasons of the popular public radio series Selected Shorts.
"Smiling more than laughing"
PEN-Faulkner Award-winning author T. Coraghessan Boyle weaves together the stories of two families in Southern California: one affluent, the other destitute. As Boyle creates a counterpoint of personal needs, civic responsibility, and social custom, each family's quest for the American Dream fuels deep fear and anger that ultimately lead to a perilous confrontation.
"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.
We are being watched. That this statement no longer shocks is itself shocking. Post-Snowden, we know that the government - everywhere - has been reading our emails, listening to our phone calls, and watching whatever we do on the Internet. The only thing concealed is the nature of our watchers. In Watchlist, some of today's most prominent and promising fiction writers from around the globe respond to, reflect on, and mine for inspiration the surveillance culture in which we live.
These 14 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.
"Enjoyable collection of stories"
Few authors in America write with such sheer love of story, language, and imagination as T.C. Boyle, and nowhere is that passion more evident than in his inventive, wickedly funny, and widely praised short stories. In After the Plague, Boyle speaks of contemporary social issues in a range of emotional keys. Presented with characteristic wit and intelligence, these 16 stories will delight readers in search of the latest news of the chaotic, disturbing, and achingly beautiful world in which we live.
T.C. Boyle has crafted a captivating tale with memorable characters and a rollicking plot that will delight both his longtime devotees and a legion of new fans. The Inner Circle is a love story narrated by John Milk, a virginal young man, who in 1940 accepts a job as an assistant to Dr. Alfred Kinsey, a charming professor of zoology at Indiana University who has just discovered his life's true calling: sex.
"Boyle interrogates the interrogator"
David Bezmozgis was born in Latvia in 1973 and emigrated to Canada in 1980. His debut story collection, Natasha and Other Stories, which includes his New Yorker story "Tapka", was published last year. His most recent story for the magazine, "The Russian Riviera", appeared in the May 30th issue. He is currently at work on a novel and on a feature film.
This joint reading was recorded live at the 2006 New Yorker Festival in New York City.