Wonderful stuff from T.C. Boyle,
This review is from: San Miguel (Hardcover)
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Having not read any of T.C Boyle's work before, I was drawn not so much by the name on the cover, as by the picture on the cover. I'm glad I did, because it's been a discovery for me.
It's a lengthy piece of work, but Boyle's style is literary but quite readable, enjoyable poetic without being pretentious. He's an American writer, but there is satisfying absence of American twang in his writing, that somehow feels as comfortable in the 1880s beginning of the book, as it does in the later 1930s part of the book.
I understand this is a quite sedate piece of work in Boyle's oeuvre, but I found it a powerful drama, rooted in an earthy kind of realism; a thoughtful page-turner. That's not to say it is any kind of thriller; it certainly is not. It is a slow-burning work, which digs deep into the minds of its characters. For a male writer, he certainly seems to know how the female mind works. Boyle called it his "first non-ironic, non-comic historical book". It being the first of his work that I have read, I cannot vouch for that, but it is devoid of irony and comedy.
As it covers the lives of three women on the island, it moves along a quite a pace, at times in spite of itself and its beautiful prose. It is unflinching depiction of the three women, who variously endure or love their windswept and sandy rock in the ocean. The oblique-minded men who hinder as much as help them, are also there in wonderful detail, but it's the women who steal the show.
I found it a delightful read, for its story and for its accomplished but understated attention to detail. It is not lightweight or a bundle of laughs, but it is a satisfying read, and I'm very interested to read another of his books.