Tooth and claw boyle summary
Tooth and Claw by T. Coraghessan BoyleSince 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 jocks 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.
ANIMALS AS LEADERS - Tooth and Claw
Getting in nature's way
As you can probably deduce from the title, the stories in T. Boyle's latest collection, his seventh, are about the depredations of nature, whose tooth and claw -- according to Tennyson and presumably with Boyle's hearty concurrence -- are forever bloody. Most of the characters in this book are foolish enough to go up against some implacable, merciless and mindless force, be it the weather, wild animals or their own genes. They almost always lose the battle, and even the ones who succeed in fighting it to a draw emerge fundamentally changed. Well, that's pretty much it, and as accomplished as these stories are, it often seems hardly worth finishing a particular specimen, given that it's obvious how things will turn out. The discontented suburbanite with the catty wife must fall for the half-demented biologist immersing herself in the social world of the neighborhood dog pack.
The intellectuals, among whom he numbers himself, think that they've "conquered nature", by damming it up and using its waters to irrigate the wastelands. But "Nature is hitting back. She's fighting with new instruments called neuroses. She's deliberately afflicting mankind with the jitters. Here, nature has no need to resort to psychology; it's carrying on the fight on its own terms. Ozone decay over Mexico sharpens the sunlight, blinding dogs, spreading cancers. Blizzards overwhelm a pair of hikers from LA.
Jhumpa Lahiri: Unaccustomed Earth. Keith Maillard: The Clarinet Polka.
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Cancel anytime. 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. Boyle's visions of our perverse attempts to defy and deny nature are darkly humorous and wisely trenchant, brilliantly highlighting our unlikely, yet, so far, effective survival instincts: hubris and obliviousness. TC Boyle is an amazing wordsmith, and I've always found his short stories to be full of vivid description, and if the point and plot are not always clear, the journey to the story's end is always enjoyable.
These fourteen stories represent the author's seventh collection of shorties. His first compilation, Descent of Man , published back in , set the bar extraordinarily high, but our man was up to the challenge. In no specific order, books like Greasy Lake and After the Plague and Without a Hero all bristled and reflected the wit and whimsical word mastery in the mini-tale genre, of a man performing at his highest level. But this new assortment, while at times astonishing, presents us with a writer afflicted with inconsistency and, curse of all curses, with innominate elements. That is, it's hard to know you're reading Boyle unless you look at the name under the story's title. His style is so unflinchingly unique, rife with sardonic drama and tale-twisting turns, that it's impossible to confuse him with anyone else.