T.C. “Straight White Baby Boomer” Boyle was born in Peekskill, New York. At the State University of New York, he began as a music student but switched to English and history. He earned his M.F.A. from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and while there, he studied with John Cheever and John Irving. The one and only story he submitted as a portfolio for entrance to this workshop was “The OD and Hepatitis Railroad or Bust.”
While there, he studied many canonical literary works, but his favorites included “dark comedy” writers John Barth and Robert Coover. His first novel, Water Music, was published in 1982. His first short story collection was called the Descent of Man which dealt with just that, issues of humanity told in absurdist/fabulist/magical realist fashion. In 1988, his novel, World’s End, won the PEN/ Faulner Award in Fiction.
As a teacher, he encourages his students to not “write what they know,” instead they should “write what they don’t know and discover something.” When writing he has been said to listen to gloom, rain, and suicidal cello conciertos in order to help him get in the modd to write the kind of fiction he writes.
In his home, he found that it was built by Frank Lloyd Wright and decided to write a novel called The Women which is about Wright’s many mistresses as told through a Japanese “intern” that was used as a sort of slave labour. Lorrie Moore, author of “How to Become a Writer,” when talking about T.C. Boyle’s writing, describes it as a failure of satire, that it is “cut off from the oxygen of morality.” His most recent novel to be published is an eco-humanist work called The Terranauts.
In the last paragraph of the story, T.C. Boyle writes this:
“The girl—the genius—looks confused for a moment. ‘But, but,’ she stammers, ‘how can that be? You don’t mean you—?’
But before Allison can answer, a crowparrot sweeps out of the nearest tree, winging low to screech ‘Fuck you!’ in our faces, and the smallest miracle occurs. Tiger, as casual in his own skin as anything there is or ever was, erupts from the ground in a rocketing whirl of fur to catch the thing in his jaws. As quick as that, it’s over, and the feathers, the prettiest feathers you’ll ever see, lift and dance and float away on the breeze.”
How does T.C. Boyle view the future for humans? Do you agree or disagree?
What two animals would you have the CRISPR combine and why?