Skip to main content

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.


Popular posts from this blog

New Yorker Fiction Review #151: "The Bog Girl" by Karen Russell

From the June 20 issue...

My loyal readers (if there are still any, which I doubt) will know I'm usually not a fan of Magical Realism, which, as you may also know, is Karen Russell's stock in trade. That said, there's nothing I love more than having my antipathy for magical realism shattered by an awesome story like "The Bog Girl."

Briefly, an Irish teenager discovers the body of a young woman who as been buried in a bog for over 2,000 years and begins to date her. What more do you need, right? If I'd read that one-line description somewhere else, and wasn't on a mission to review every New Yorker short story, I doubt I'd have read "The Bog Girl." But maybe I should start doing a George Costanza and do the opposite of everything I think I should do.

Where Russell succeeds here is in two main areas: 1.) Making us really love Cillian, the teenager who falls in love with the bog girl, and 2.) pulling the unbelievable trick making the characters…

Holiday Q&A, Volume 1

These questions come to us from Grace. Thanks for sending your questions!! Answers below:
What is the most thrilling mystery you have read and/or watched?
The Eiger Sanction (book and film) by Trevanian is what's coming to mind. International espionage. Mountain-climbing assassins. Evil albino masterminds. Sex. Not a bad combination. Warning, this is completely a "guy" movie, and the film (feat. Clint Eastwood) is priceless 70s action movie cheese. But in case that's your thing...
What's the deal with Narcos?
Narcos is a Netflix show about the rise and fall (but mostly the fall) of Columbian cocaine kingpin Pablo Escobar. Thus far there are two seasons of 10 episodes each. RIYL: The film Blow, starring Johnny Depp; the book Zombie City, by Thomas Katz; the movie Goodfellas; true crime; anything involving the drug trade. My brief review: Season 1 started out a bit slow and I know a bunch of people who never made it past the first few episodes. Some of the acting is a…

A Piece of Advice I Learned From My Grandfather

My grandfather was one of the most learned men I know. He read widely and voraciously, and not just in the sciences (he was a doctor); he loved politics, philosophy, and great literature as well. Whenever he finished a book he would write his thoughts about the book in the front cover and then sign and date it. To this day every once in a while I will open a book from my bookshelf or my mother's bookshelf, or at one of my family members' homes, and there will be my grandfather's handwriting. He was also a great giver of his books; if you remarked that you liked a particular one or wanted to read it, you were almost sure to take it home with you.

Reading is a very solitary pursuit but my grandfather was not a solitary person. He relished having family and friends around him which is convenient because he was blessed with a lot of both. And he carried out his intellectual life in a very "public" way as well. He was, in some ways, an intellectual evangelist. If he r…