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When the Killing's Done

3.59  ·  Rating Details ·  4,145 Ratings  ·  750 Reviews
T.C. Boyle's most powerful and fully realized work yet-"terrifically exciting and unapologetically relevant" (The Washington Post).

Principally set on the wild Channel Islands off the coast of California, T.C. Boyle's new novel is a gripping adventure with a timely theme. Alma Boyd Takesue is a National Park Service biologist spearheading the efforts to save the islands' na
Kindle Edition, 396 pages
Published (first published 2011)
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Jeffrey Keeten
“Sometimes, when she's out here alone, she can feel the pulse of something bigger, as if all things animate were beating in unison, a glory and a connection that sweeps her out of herself, out of her consciousness, so that nothing has a name, not in Latin, not in English, not in any known language.”

The best parasites, viruses, or bacterias all infect their host, multiply, and wait for opportunities to leave offspring on another passing ship. The reason they are considered successful is that the
Will Byrnes
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May 28, 2011 Janet rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love TC Boyle, and he writes enough that I can pick from among his novels based on the appeal of their subject matter. This was fascinating, a book about the Channel Islands off the coast of Santa Barbara, Anacapa and Santa Cruz. They've always been just a couple of big rocks to me-- but not after reading this book. Forever after, they'll be the location of this novel, which charts the ideological battle for possession of these bioscapes--on the one side, science and ecology represented by Alm ...more
Jan 15, 2015 Alexandra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: belletristik, usa
Ich mag TC Boyles Stärken in der Themenvielfalt seiner Romane - sowohl historische als auch moderne Geschichten werden sehr variantenreich in der Breite und in der Tiefe gut recherchiert erzählt.

Im vorliegenden Roman werden äußerst spannende Positionen zum Themenkomplex Artenschutz gegen Tierschutz aufgegriffen: Sollen endemische Arten vor eingeschleppten animalischen Invasoren durch Töten und Jagen geschützt werden oder sollen auf die naive Art alle Tiere gerettet werden, egal was die überleben
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Mar 28, 2011 Joshua rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2011
Kind of a disappointing three stars here as I'm a long-time fan of Boyle's and the first 40 pages of this are so utterly amazing, I was ready for that the entire story, but alas, it wasn't to be. The first 40 pages is as good as it gets though, but unfortunately the story jumps into the near present and switches back and forth between characters on opposite sides of the fence regarding the de-population of the Channel Islands of rats, pigs and other animals killing off the natural habitat. One c ...more
Rebecca Foster
It’s always a delight to see an environmental conscience creeping into fiction. This novel (one of my favorites of recent years) reminded me most of Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom; in both books the central character is a committed conservationist worried about pollution, invasive species, and overpopulation - but still displaying hypocritical lapses.

When the Killing’s Done focuses on the invasive species on Anacapa and Santa Cruz, two of the North Channel Islands off the coast of California near Sa
Oct 04, 2011 Mirkat rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the book that led me to finding Goodreads. I was doing a search on the title and "vegan" because I was surprised (and disappointed, to be honest) that Dave LaJoy, the character who founded and ran the fictional For the Protection of Animals, was not one. The first time this is revealed, he is complaining bitterly about how his eggs are prepared. Later, there is a scene that acknowledges that this presents an inconsistency:
That was the day he gave up meat, cold turkey, and where did that
Sam Quixote
Jul 15, 2011 Sam Quixote rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The novel is about the struggle of man and his environment - of one day (19th century) introducing non-native animals to an environment and totally obliterating species that didn't know how to cope, and years later (21st century) trying to undo the damage this introduction did by killing the non-native creatures and re-introducing the native animals that weren't wiped out.

This is the main story of the book with the real life events of the extermination of rats from Anacapa island and afterwards
Sep 12, 2012 Charlie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literazzi
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Aug 16, 2014 Karen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoy TC Boyle in general. I had a hard time with rating this book. It's uncomfortable, and it it probably supposed to be. None of the characters are that likeable, the avid animal lover is a jerk and refuses to see gray areas of life. The environmentalist park official is not really likeable either. Actually nobody is, almost nobody in the book is likeable.

Perhaps that's the point. The damage our species has done to this particular land is difficult to parse out from the changes that m
Apr 02, 2011 April rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not sure how to rate this book. First TC Boyle book I've read and I'm not sure if he's for me. I'll need to try another of his to know for sure. Also, I listened to this one and the readers voice bugged me. Unfair but true and that colored it for me.

I liked the story, the characters, the setting and the back stories through generations, but it was too much. Too much context and detail that I felt bogged down at times and just wanted to get through it. That happened less as the book progressed b
Feb 19, 2011 Mythili rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
"When the Killing’s Done" is a story about two kinds of environmental crusaders. On one side, there is Alma Boyd Takesue, Ph.D, a National
Park Service biologist. She’s got “self control. And drive. And smarts,” and she’s the face of a plan to restore the ecosystem of California’s Northern Channel Islands — “The Galapagos of America.”

Alma wouldn’t be alive if not for the islands — they’re what saved her grandmother from drowning at sea when she was shipwrecked in 1946 — and she approaches the pro
Sep 02, 2011 Snotchocheez rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Few novelists possess the chutzpah (or the talent, for that matter) to write coherent novels on a wide variety of disparate subjects and themes, with little trepidation of alienating his/her fanbase. Consider TC Boyle's body of work, which avoids pigeon-holing into a particular genre; he's written about topics as varied as turn-of-the-century health spas/sanatoria, the sexual dalliances of Frank Lloyd Wright, the explosion of migrant day-laborers in Los Angeles, free-love communes, and so forth. ...more
David Granger
May 13, 2011 David Granger rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've been reading Boyle since he was the more formal T. Coraghessan Boyle, since Road to Wellville and other earlier works. For me, When the Killing's Done is his best work in quite some time.

Some might term it an environmental novel, because both the protagonist, Alma Boyd Takesue, and the antagonist, Dave Lajoy, are, in fact, environmentalists. But they find themselves at odds when the National Park Service, for whom Alma works, plans to kill off the rats on Anacapa, one of the Channel Islands
May 09, 2017 Semjon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dies war mein erstes Buch von T.C. Boyle. Seine sprachliche Fähigkeiten haben mich begeistert. Insbesondere seine ironischen Formulierungen, wenn er dem Leser Einblicke in die Gefühlswelt seiner Hauptpersonen gewährt, sind echt köstlich. Teilweise hatte ich so ein leichtes Dauergrinsen auf dem Lippen beim Lesen.

Das Buch behandelt die Problematik, welche Kettenreaktionen der Eingriff des Menschen in die Natur für andere Spezies mit sich bringt. Dabei geht es nicht nur um die durch einen Schiffbr
William Koon
May 19, 2014 William Koon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The late Bobby Charles (nee Robert Guidry) wrote a song called "(I Don't Know Why) But I Do." If you know the song better by Clarence "Frogman" Henry, no big deal. But that song expresses perfectly my regard for TC Boyle. Now in my younger days, if I met Boyle in a bar, I am sure we would end up fighting –and I am pretty sure I’d put the little fucker down. That he teaches at USC is a further fantasy of “who do you think your looking at, Willowboy?” But as irritating as he dresses and looks, he ...more
switterbug (Betsey)
Never one to shy away from sacred cow territory or the ruthless ways in which humans stampede it, T.C. Boyle's latest wise epic puts ecologists on a restless collision course with agitated animal rights activists. In his vintage style of tackling issues with snarling drama and incendiary humor, Boyle plots a political novel without sending the reader a preachy message, although he comes right up under it.

Boyle turns eco controversy on its head, turning back to the theme that man's desire to keep
Steve Betz
Feb 20, 2011 Steve Betz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011, audio-2011
I’m going to get right to the point: T.C. Boyle’s latest novel, When The Killing’s Done, ought to be the book that is the lens through which we scrutinize ourselves as a society – not Jonathan Franzen’s it-book from last year, Freedom.

Focused on the Channel Islands (often referred to as North America’s Galapagos) off the coast from Santa Barbara, the novel interweaves the stories of two protagonists: Alma Boyd Takesue and Dave LaJoy. Takesue is in charge of the National Parks Service’s attempts
Feb 12, 2011 Shinynickel marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Off this review:

T. Coraghessan Boyle’s new When the Killing’s Done falls in nicely with the mood of Margaret Atwood’s vatic sci-fi tales or Jonathan Franzen’s recent, naturalistic Freedom with its impassioned defense of birds. Though he’s been writing for a long time about America’s problems, Boyle usually does so more covertly, in a comic voice with comedy’s concealed agenda. Here, though, there’s the note of the preacher in despair that has surfaced som
Dec 31, 2012 Gerhard rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2013, favorites
There is such good writing on environmental issues these days -- from Jonathan Franzen to Barbara Kingsolver, Margaret Atwood and Carl Hiaasen -- that the bar is set very high for would-be contenders. Boyle, however, vaults effortlessly over it with this bleak and beautiful novel.

The story is so simple, but then so much great writing usually is: set on the Channel Islands off California, specifically Anacapa and Santa Cruz (San Miguel features in Boyle's next novel), Boyle focuses on two main ch
Mar 12, 2013 Becky rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a great example of a novel that explores a really complicated issue through the lens of specific characters and their interpersonal conflicts. In this case, the complex issue is environmental (hence my immediate interest): the protagonist of the book is a National Park Service scientist attempting to restore California's Channel Islands ecosystems by killing off (in fairly gruesome manner) various invasive species, like rats and pigs, that are driving the native animal populations to ext ...more
Bookmarks Magazine
Like the characters in the book, reviewers of When the Killing’s Done shared a passion that also divided them. All critics expressed their admiration for T. C. Boyle and his ability to find original drama in historical and contemporary settings. But they disagreed about whether he meets his usual standards here. Some critics felt that the complexity of Takesue, LaJoy, and other characters give this novel the moral ambiguity that they enjoyed in books like Tortilla Curtain. Others felt that the c ...more
Feb 20, 2011 Natalie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Brilliant writing.

Hard to put down.

Not to preachy, but with clear and witted underline.

Especially loved the mesmerizing language, the descriptions of the crazy and overdoing environmentalist groups, the rigid and pharisaic national park services, the breathtaking beauty of the islands, the twists and turns of the storyline.

Best T.C.Boyle for long...

I can highly recommend it!
May 05, 2012 Joanna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's all about the raccoon. And maybe the snake. Yes, definitely the snake, too.
Aug 31, 2013 Sheri rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
So I really liked The Women (Boyle's book about FLW's life and loves) and thought it might be interesting to read Boyle's take on environmentalism and our (speaking for humanity at large) responsibility towards other creatures.

Unfortunately, I found this novel to be at best boring, at worst preachy, and overall just fairly uninteresting. I get that Boyle was trying to say something profound about the ways that people a)affect the natural order and the world and b)should make efforts to ameliorat
Steve lovell
Jul 01, 2015 Steve lovell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
'And dogshit wrapped in neat little plastic bags. Does that drive her crazy? Yes it does. That people should take something natural, waste, feces (sic), the end product of an animal process, and seal it in plastic for future archaeologists to unearth from landfill in a thousand years is pure madness. This world. This skewered and doomed world.'

TC (Thomas Coraghessan) Boyle is one weird geezer. He looks weird and from all reports, behaves weirdly too - an eccentric, perhaps, with his slick looks
Apr 23, 2017 Donna rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Environmental mystery. Endangered species vs. invasive species. Found it a topic that was depressing. Kill off one group so another can live
T. C. Boyle is a great storyteller. I don't just mean his actual telling of the story, which I know, having heard him read one of his stories, he does with a fluent, flamboyant relish. It is also the way the story is written, paced, replete with active verbs, imagery, and movement. Boyle is a writer who engages deeply with environmental problems and the inherent external and internal conflicts faced by environmentalists and conservationists. If that was what he set out to do in this book, it is ...more
Jul 29, 2011 christa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
TC Boyle's novel When the Killing's Done pits dueling factions of animal-diggers against each other in a bloody battle. In one corner is Alma Boyd Takesue, a researcher bent on killing the zillions of rats who have unnaturally come to habitat a small island off of California. The furry-faced rodents are mucking up the ecosystem, killing off birds and throwing things out of whack. In the other corner is a dreadlocked veggie head named David LaJoy, who believes it is ethically irresponsible to kil ...more
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T. Coraghessan Boyle (also known as T.C. Boyle, born Thomas John Boyle on December 2, 1948) is a U.S. novelist and short story writer. Since the late 1970s, he has published eleven novels and more than 60 short stories. He won the PEN/Faulkner award in 1988 for his third novel, World's End, which recounts 300 years in upstate New York. He is married with three children. Boyle has been a Distinguis ...more
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“Sometimes, when she's out here alone, she can feel the pulse of something bigger, as if all things animate were beating in unison, a glory and a connection that sweeps her out of herself, out of her consciousness, so that nothing has a name, not in Latin, not in English, not in any known language.” 14 likes
“But then all writers smoke, don't they? And drink? And sit in front of computer screens till their arteries clog and muscles atrophy?” 2 likes
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