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3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (854 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: T. C. Boyle Narrator: T. C. Boyle Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: January 2010 ISBN: 9781455196296
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There may be no one better than T. C. Boyle at engaging, shocking, and ultimately gratifying readers while at the same time testing his characters’ emotional and physical endurance.

The fourteen stories in this rich new collection display T. C. Boyle’s astonishing range and imaginative muscle. Nature is the dominant player in many of these stories, whether in the form of a catastrophic mudslide that allows a cynic to reclaim his humanity or in Boyle’s powerfully original retelling of the story of Victor, the feral boy who was captured running naked through the forests of Napoleonic France—a moving and magical investigation of what it means to be human. Other tales range from the drama of a man who spins Homeric lies in order to stop going to work, to that of a young woman who must babysit for a $250,000 cloned Afghan, to the sad comedy of a child born to Mexican street vendors who is unable to feel pain. Brilliant, incisive, and always engaging, Boyle’s short stories showcase the mischievous humor and socially conscious sensibility that have made him one of the most acclaimed writers of our time.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Dazzling…Boyle [is] that literary wild child whose flights of narrative fancy refuse to be domesticated.”

    Los Angeles Times

  • “T. C. Boyle, like the megalomaniac American overachievers at the heart of his muscular, quasi-historical novels The Road to Wellville, The Inner Circle, and last year’s The Women, runs on a powerful mix of ambition and brilliance. The title novella of Wild Child, Boyle’s energetic, engaging ninth collection of short stories…[is] a vivid reimagining of the story of the enfant sauvage of Aveyron…the thirteen other stories in Wild Child [are] almost all attention-grabbers…Each of the tales in this entertaining collection show us what the driver in ‘La Conchita’ calls ‘the real deal’—things that really matter.”

    NPR

  • “The title novella in Boyle’s ninth collection is as good as anything the prolific author of The Women has written…Boyle interrogates history with an experienced reader’s wariness of sentimental revisionism and a great writer’s attention to precisely what defines the child’s wildness.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Superlative author T. C. Boyle is also an excellent reader of his own work. His voice is purely American West—flat-voweled , pleasantly modulated, with a hint of a baritone growl. He reads without vocal flourish, but with an intensity that captures the listener and won’t let go. It’s pell-mell without being rushed; urgent but not desperate; entirely articulate. And such stories. The fate of a boy who cannot feel pain; the way in which a California mudslide can save a soul; a girl who may or may not lie for her father. Stories that feel simultaneously quotidian and mythic…This is a mesmerizing audiobook experience.”

    AudioFile

  •  Winner of an AudioFile Earphones Award
  • One of the 2010 New York Times Book Review 100 Notable Books for Fiction
  • A 2010 San Francisco Chronicle Best Book for Fiction

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Cdrueallen | 2/2/2014

    " The stories in WILD CHILD confirmed my suspicion that T.C. Boyle is the most interesting fiction writer working in the U.S. today. I won't say North America, as Canada has Atwood and Munro, but Boyle is clearly in their all-star league. He wasn't always one of my favorites. His earlier stories were too white and male for me. But he steadily widened his point of view and improved his always impressive technical abilities until he was able to produce what I consider one of the finest novels of the past twenty years, DROP CITY. In both DROP CITY and WILD CHILD, Boyle demonstrates the ability to ground stories with the resonance of myth in the fabric of convincing reality. There are other American writers who excel at the creation of myth, notably Toni Morrison, but, lacking the grounding in reality that Boyle provides, her dream worlds fail to move me as there isn't enough at stake. My prejudice in favor of fiction that carries with it the convincing bite of a reality external to human minds and culture narrows down the field of writers whose latest can get me to pull out my credit card for a hardback purchase to a handful: Smiley, Lethem, Franzen, Boyle. Smiley used to be the writer whose latest work I most looked forward to, and GREENLANDERS remains one of my favorite novels, but though she still writes with great skill and knows how to tell a good story, Smiley lost me when she retreated into the narrow world of the richest one percent, full of thoroughbred horses and architecturally significant houses in the hills. Another one of my prejudices: I can't stand fiction that fawns on the wealthy. Lethem wrote wonderfully about the underclass in FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE and though his next, CHRONIC CITY, was a fascinating novel about a member of the cultural underclass, it seems that success might soon have the same effect on Lethem that it did on Smiley. So far I've liked Lethem's subjects and prose enough to pardon his flirtation with post-modernism, which I don't like for the same reasons I don't like magic realism or too much mythologizing, but I much prefer Boyle's less affected style, and if Lethem's next is a post-modern novel about New York's cultural elite, he'll drop off my list of must-read writers. I admire Franzen as much for his courage in writing about the ecological collapse of our planet, a topic that bores and annoys many readers, as I do for his wit, but with FREEDOM Franzen too is exhibiting symptoms of the Smiley syndrome, dulling of his satirical edge and increasing his tendency to have everything end up in a warm financially secure place. You won't find many warm safe fuzzy places in the stories in WILD CHILD. There are bars and restaurants where men, reaching for the pleasures of the moment, slip, fall, and fail. There's a monumental mudslide where one of these failed, always potentially violent men grabs at a shovel and an illusory chance of redemption. There's the house in a middle class suburb where a lonely man falls in love with a rat and ends up dead in a sea of rodents. There's the gated mansion where a black unemployed college girl takes a job dog sitting a quarter million dollar puppy. There's the early 19th century French institution where the wild child of the title is introduced to Enlightenment civilization. There's a trailer park where a woman decides that a feral cat's worth sacrificing for a dubious male lover while across the country her married sister falls in love with an escaped tiger. There's a run-down recording studio in wintery New York where a second-string backup singer finds a moment of heaven. And my favorite, a terrorist camp in the jungles of Venezuela where the middle-aged mother of a Mexican baseball millionaire survives by doing what she always has, which is the daily work of recreating civilization. All of these settings are places for Boyle to explore the conflicts between men and women, rich and poor, man and animal, and to think about the nature of Nature, in stories that are never didactic and always amusing. Financial success hasn't caused Boyle to forget what the world looks like to most of its impoverished inhabitants, and age has only increased his ability to see the world through the eyes of women. In fact it's Boyle's ability to create female characters whose lives aren't subsumed by men that makes him stand out from his talented male (and most of his female) contemporaries. Boyle can write as beautiful a sentence as any language-obsessed writer, like the one that begins his title story "Wild Child": "During the first hard rain of autumn, when the leaves lay like currency at the feet of the trees and the branches shone black against a diminished sky, a party of hunters from the village of Lacaune, in the Languedoc region of France, returning cold and damp and without anything tangible to show for their efforts, spotted a human figure in the gloom ahead." What's great about this sentence, and all of the sentences in this collection, is that they never call so much attention to themselves that they get in the way of the story. Rather they carry you forward into a life you couldn't have imagined on your own while depositing just a trace of extra loveliness on the way, like using the right amount of good scent instead of a whole cheap bottle of flowery verbiage. In WILD CHILD, Boyle displays all the literary qualities I like: the courage to write about serious social problems; convincing characters of many classes, genders, and nationalities; a sly satirical but not too obvious wit; and smooth beautiful unobtrusive writing. I'm looking forward to many more years of reading his very fine work. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bruce | 2/1/2014

    " My favorite modern short story author continues his prolific output with intriguing and quality stories. Though this is not his BEST set, it is still something I had to slow myself down from speeding through. The title story is the strongest and longest about a boy found in 18th century France who had grown up in the woods and who was captured and brought into the "civilized" world. In a comic tragic way, Boyle tells the sad story. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mindy | 1/29/2014

    " I enjoyed these stories but I really like his books much better. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kate | 1/18/2014

    " Why do I like books that make me sad? Good book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Maryam | 1/17/2014

    " Picked it up at 4 in the morning without checking the description on-line. I just wanted to read and pass the time. I've never heard of T.C. Boyle before so while reading this book I got to know his writing and it's magnificent at times a tad timid at other, but still captivating. there was a wonderful sense of dramatic downfall. highly recommend to those looking to pass the time with a good book! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Roxann | 1/6/2014

    " Short stories. Good, some really compelling, but I didn't read them all because their tone was too much the same and I had had enough. Definitely a good short story writer. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Bekka | 12/28/2013

    " "Wild Child" as a story deserved 4 stars as it was a moving and rich telling of the wild boy named Victor. However, I found the other stories in the book to be not as unique or lush as the namesake of the collection. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Cindy Lofgren | 10/28/2013

    " Seductively written. Hard to put down. I am always left wanting more, however, when it comes to short stories. Recommend. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Justin | 10/25/2013

    " Free advice...if you're not reading T.C. Boyle, start doing so today. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Shraddha Pandya | 8/12/2013

    " The last story which is Wild Child made the book worth it... the author should have just published that and left it.. some of the other stories took effort to finish... can see why wild child was kept last.. if you start with it its downhill... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 David Johnson | 4/30/2013

    " TC Boyle is one of my favorite writers. He never fails to deliver a timely and thematic plot, as well as convincing characters you both like and hate. I also love the historical context of some of the stories in this collection. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Eric | 4/18/2013

    " Didn't read 'em all. Perhaps a bit Boyled at this point. Some good writing and ideas, but far from his best. My guess is title story rose above, but did not get to it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Andrea | 3/6/2013

    " A lovely, varied collection of stories from TC Boyle. I can't pick a favourite. They are all so different and captivating in their own way. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Frances | 11/29/2012

    " Heard him read a story from this new collection on Friday night. Had already read a number of the stories in other sources (New Yorker and Harpers). I really enjoyed this collection. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Carolyn | 6/19/2012

    " Wonderful collection of diverse, well crafted short stories. Definitely not happy, 'feel good' stories though. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Dave Ward | 4/30/2012

    " Short story collection. Interesting one about "The Wild Child", a feral boy in !9th century France. 3/10 "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 June | 9/26/2011

    " Not my favorite. I had read many of the stories in the New Yorker, and the ones that were new to me didn't thrill me. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jessica | 9/23/2011

    " I really wish I had read this instead of listened to it....TC Boyle's voice is soporific. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lee | 8/1/2011

    " Ordinarily I don't do short stories but for Mr Boyle I'll always make an exception. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kathy | 5/10/2011

    " Boyle has a rare command of language and that these stories are where most novels should have stopped: at about 20-30 pages. Leaves you wanting more. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Erin | 4/5/2011

    " While I appreciated the scope of Boyle's knowledge and the content of his stories, the emotional investment he was able to pull from me left me needing stronger conclusions than he was able (or willing) to give. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mindy | 3/28/2011

    " I enjoyed these stories but I really like his books much better. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 pattie | 3/16/2011

    " As read by author - cannot get any better ! Brilliant ! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kate | 2/26/2011

    " Desire is a tree in leaf, hope is a tree in bloom, enjoyment is a tree with fruit. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Krista | 2/20/2011

    " A great collection of stories. I admire the authors inventive style of writing. He takes strange and unique situations and creates unforgettable fiction. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Kady | 2/15/2011

    " The abrupt ending of these stories left me cold. Many good story lines were left with no true finish so I finished the book unsatisfied. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 shannoncjeter | 1/27/2011

    " Maybe I should actually give this book five stars. Short stories: each surprising, and tightly written. I especially enjoyed the last story, Wild Child,about the relationship between Itard, and Victor of Aveyron. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Amy | 1/4/2011

    " I like TC Boyle. I liked some stories better than others, wild child, the rats, the lie and the first story. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Peggy | 12/27/2010

    " It was really good. I am just not a huge short story fan. "

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About the Author

T. C. Boyle is the author of more than a dozen novels, including Drop City, which was a finalist for the National Book Award, and World’s End, winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award. He has also written numerous short-story collections. He lives near Santa Barbara, California.