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Friday, December 2, 2016

Reeling in readers with real-life tales


“I think the best endings bring you back in rather than close things off with absolute finality. I'm not saying they necessarily have to be ambiguous, but we don't always need to know what happens when everyone wakes up tomorrow morning.” – T. C. Boyle

Born on this date in 1948, Thomas Coraghessan Boyle is an award-winning novelist, short story writer and Distinguished Professor of English (at the University of Southern California).  

A native of New York, Boyle earned his writing degrees both there and in Iowa before gravitating to the West Coast where he has lived most of his adult life.  His writing often focuses on Baby Boomers – their joys, appetites and addictions – and on the ruthlessness and unpredictability of nature and the toll human society sometimes unwittingly takes on the environment.  He has authored 14 novels, including the PEN/Faulkner winning World's End, which recounts 300 years in his home stomping grounds of upstate New York.  His most recent – and much acclaimed – book is this year’s The Terranauts, set in a glassed-in biodome in Arizona and closely similar to the real-life Biosphere II. The plot focuses on two of the inside crew and one jealous outsider.

Boyle’s short stories regularly appear in the major American magazines like The New Yorker and Harper’s and he has published 8 short story collections, including a great look at “the best of” in T.C. Boyle Stories II from 2014.  A much sought-after speaker, he said,  I love performing in front of an audience. I like the questions; I like controversy.”
 His advice to those who hope to write is to be good readers.              
 “I read widely - for news, the arts, science, for entertainment, and the value of being informed - and, as a fiction writer, I can't help transposing what I learn into the scenario for a novel or story.”

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