The Short Stories of T.C. Boyle Background

The Short Stories of T.C. Boyle Background

T.C. Boyle—often found under his name T Coraghessan Boyle—is almost certainly known to most readers of short fiction through his short story “Greasy Lake.” That coming-of-age story that combines humor with terror without any elements of horror is not just Boyle’s most widely-anthologized story; it is one of the most widely anthologized stories written in the last quarter of the 20th century. The number of college students who graduated in the 21st century without being assigned to write an essay on Boyle’s story at some point during their academic career is almost certainly dwarfed by those who did. Boyle received the 1986 silver medal for literature from the Commonwealth Club of California for that story: one of many awards his short fiction has brought him over the course of a relatively short career so far.

Boyle took home the St. Lawrence Prize in 1980 for his story, "Descent of Man." "Sinking House" and "The Ape Lady in Retirement" brought Boyle back-to-back O.Henry Awards. The stories which have brought T.C. Boyle both awards, critical respect and commercial success reveal a pervasive sense of satire within a world of absurdity in which the impact of past events upon present circumstances very often provides a caustic revelation of society’s intensely misplaced sense of priorities.

Among T.C. Boyle’s extensive series of collections of his short stories are PEN/Faulkner Award-winning World's End, If the River was Whiskey and Greasy Lake and Other Stories.

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