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New Yorker Fiction Review #153: "The Fugitive" by T. Coraghessan Boyle

From the July 4th issue of The New Yorker...

There are a few things in life that have never let me down: chorizo, Adidas products, the hair of the dog that bit me, and T.C. freakin Boyle.

There are a couple signs of mastery of the fiction craft, in my opinion, one of them is the ability to write with such grace that the words actually recede into the background and allow you to forget you're reading a story. It's not just about "sucking you in" to the story, it's more than that; it's when the writer has mastered the form so well that the form disappears. That's what I believe T.C. Boyle does in his stories and why I like reading them so much.

This story, about a chronically ill T.B. patient who is determined to escape captivity and proper treatment in the hospital,has the kind of clear direction and urgency that I have come to expect from T.C.B. even in my limited experience reading his stuff.

This particular story almost reminds me of the sick, runaway brother in Juno Diaz's writings, I think from The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, who takes it in his head to flee the hospital in his final weeks of an ultimately unsuccessful battle with cancer. It's an interesting concept, much like old elephants walk off into the hills to die alone, maybe there is a similar instinct inside people.

Anyway, another awesome story and thanks, T.C.B. for making the fiction world a better place.


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