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When the Killing's Done [Hardcover]

T.C. Boyle
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Book Description

7 Mar 2011
'How can you talk about being civil when innocent animals are being tortured to death? Civil? I'll be civil when the killing's done.'

The island of Anacapa, off the coast of California, is overrun with black rats which are threatening the ancient population of ground-nesting birds. Alma Boyd Takesue of the National Park Service is the spokesperson for a campaign to exterminate these man-introduced rodents once and for all. Alma, highly self-disciplined with a stubborn streak, speaks as a conservationist, though the fact that her grandmother was once stranded on Anacapa for three weeks with nothing but thousands of crawling rats for company might explain some of her zeal.

With days to go before the aerial rat-poisoning, Alma's plan is in danger of sabotage. Dave LaJoy and Anise Reed, a pair of notorious environmental activists, are recognisable from a distance by his knotted dreadlocks and her flame-red cyclone of hair. Dave is an electronics salesman with barely-controlled rages, for whom the plight of the rats is yet another of life's many injustices, along with lazy tramps and second-rate wine. Anise is a struggling folk singer with her own, terrible reasons for getting involved in 'the cause'.

From the outset, Alma, Dave and Anise are at ideological loggerheads. But when Alma's sights turn to the infestation of non-native pigs on Santa Cruz - where Anise was brought up by her single mother and a clan of ranchers - the stakes are raised, and the debate threatens to boil over into something much more real...

When the Killing's Done is T.C. Boyle's blistering new novel, a sweeping epic of family, ecology and the right to life - no matter what the fallout.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing (7 Mar 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1408811480
  • ISBN-13: 978-1408811481
  • Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 24.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 616,759 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

PRAISE FOR THE WOMEN:

'Boyle at his best ... mesmerizing' (New York Times Book Review)

'The prose is sparkling, the narrative gripping, and the material to die for' (The Times)

'Boyle ratchets up every ounce of tension from the story. It's a stunning achievement' (Daily Mail)

'Crackles with drama ... a blisteringly good read' (Sunday Telegraph Summer Reads)

Book Description

The latest masterpiece from the unstoppable T.C. Boyle, a sweeping epic of family, ecology and the right to life - no matter what the fallout

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
Reading a T.C.Boyle book is like watching a movie. The exuberant detail of his descriptions sucks you into each scene as if you were there. Each chapter takes you on a rollercoaster ride; you never know where it will lead you, but you're never disappointed. You do not only read his books to know how they end, but just as much for the buildup of the suspense and ultimately for the sheer joy of the reading itself. This latest novel takes us to Boyle's backyard, the Californian Channel Islands. The theme of environmental activism might remind one of his earlier novel 'A Friend of the Earth', but the two books are completely different. As in 'Talk Talk', the story is told from two opposing viewpoints. Conservation biologist Alma and environmental activist Dave both want to do what is best for nature on the Channel Islands. Where this leads to, you have to read yourself. As always with Boyle's novels: the book is so good, it can never be made into a movie.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ...you write a novel about it 15 Jun 2012
By Sam Quixote TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
The novel is about the struggle of man and his environment - of one day (19th century) introducing non-native animals to an environment and totally obliterating species that didn't know how to cope, and years later (21st century) trying to undo the damage this introduction did by killing the non-native creatures and re-introducing the native animals that weren't wiped out.

This is the main story of the book with the real life events of the extermination of rats from Anacapa island and afterwards the extermination of pigs from Santa Cruz island (both islands are off the coast of California). Alma Boyd Takesue is the environmental scientist who takes on this challenge and is our heroine, while Dave LaJoy is the antagonist, a self proclaimed eco-warrior attempting to stop and sabotage any attempts at wiping out any animals no matter what. To this end he pickets Takesue's campaign to wipe out the rats and when that fails, he does everything he can, going further than before, to stop the extermination of the pigs.

I've been a huge fan of T C Boyle's writing for years now and strongly recommend his short story collections After the Plague, Tooth and Claw, and last year's Wild Child, as incredible examples of the short story medium and Boyle's own mastery of writing. That said, I've never been able to finish one of his novels before "When the Killing's Done". Not sure why that is but one reason I'm sure of that made me finish this book was the story and the writing.

Boyle does a marvellous job of pacing an interesting story and turning it into a thriller.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ...you write a novel about it 26 Mar 2011
By Sam Quixote TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
The novel is about the struggle of man and his environment - of one day (19th century) introducing non-native animals to an environment and totally obliterating species that didn't know how to cope, and years later (21st century) trying to undo the damage this introduction did by killing the non-native creatures and re-introducing the native animals that weren't wiped out.

This is the main story of the book with the real life events of the extermination of rats from Anacapa island and afterwards the extermination of pigs from Santa Cruz island (both islands are off the coast of California). Alma Boyd Takesue is the environmental scientist who takes on this challenge and is our heroine, while Dave LaJoy is the antagonist, a self proclaimed eco-warrior attempting to stop and sabotage any attempts at wiping out any animals no matter what. To this end he pickets Takesue's campaign to wipe out the rats and when that fails, he does everything he can, going further than before, to stop the extermination of the pigs.

I've been a huge fan of T C Boyle's writing for years now and strongly recommend his short story collections After the Plague, Tooth and Claw, and last year's Wild Child, as incredible examples of the short story medium and Boyle's own mastery of writing. That said, I've never been able to finish one of his novels before "When the Killing's Done". Not sure why that is but one reason I'm sure of that made me finish this book was the story and the writing.

Boyle does a marvellous job of pacing an interesting story and turning it into a thriller.
Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you?
2.0 out of 5 stars More islands 28 Nov 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Probably my least favourite TCBoyle book, I found it lacked coherence, but also recognise its just a personal point of view!
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3.0 out of 5 stars Goodish book, but horrible Kindle conversion 12 Aug 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I liked this. Not as much as many other Boyle books (it seemed overly long to me). If you haven't read Drop City or Tortilla Curtain or Talk Talk, I'd start there first...
This was, however, the worst Kindle conversion I have ever seen. Hundreds - literally hundreds - of formatting errors, missing spaces, words stuck together, random capitals. No one from the publisher can possibly have bothered to read even a few pages of this, because if they had, they would have seen what a mess it is. And that's really not acceptable.
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