T.C. Boyle Stories II

Viking. Oct. 2013. 918p. ISBN 9780670026258. $45. F
OrangeReviewStarThis second volume of Boyle's short stories (after Volume 1, 1998) represents his work from the late 1990s to the present and incorporates three story collections—After the Plague (2001), Tooth and Claw (2005), and Wild Child (2010)—and new work not yet published in book form. This is a monumental amount of writing, with the present 900-plus-page volume including 58 stories from the author of 14 highly acclaimed novels. In this case, quantity and quality coexist in good measure, as Boyle's stories are among the best and most memorable of the past three decades. Here, as in Boyle's earlier work, the pieces range from modern-day tall tales such as "Swept Away," which tells of a short-lived romance between an itinerant ornithologist and a shy native from "the northernmost tip of the Isle of Unst" to "torn-from-the-headlines" character-driven pieces featuring, for example, an abortion doctor under siege, a promising young college student in denial about her own pregnancy, and a newly homeless man in his first days of living rough in a Southern California beach town.
VERDICT Boyle is a devoted practitioner of the short story with a formidable body of work. This rich title will be of great interest to readers both new and old.
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