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Greasy Lake & Other Stories

3.94  ·  Rating Details ·  944 Ratings  ·  40 Reviews
Mythic and realistic, farcical and tragic, The Washington Post Book World says these masterful stories mark T. Coraghessan Boyle's development from "a prodigy's audacity to something that packs even more of a wallop: mature artistry." They cover everything, from a terrifying encounter between a bunch of suburban adolescents and a murderous, drug-dealing biker, to a touchin ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published May 6th 1986 by Penguin Books (first published January 1st 1985)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,420)
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Robert Dunbar
Sep 01, 2015 Robert Dunbar rated it really liked it
At first excited by the intense creativity of the prose, I quickly began to feel as though I were watching a conjurer do the same card trick over and over. An expert conjurer, but still...
Joshua Rivera
Nov 15, 2011 Joshua Rivera rated it it was amazing
I like the story of Greasy Lake because the characters are relatable to the bad-boy persona of everyone’s youth—definitely at some point it was mine. The narrator wants to portray the bad-boy image but has an epiphany at the end, realizing what he wanted to portray is nothing what he wanted to be. This is summed up at the end when the narrator said, “I wanted to go home to my parents’ house and crawl into bed.” The reader really got a great sense of what the narrator was thinking and feeling thr ...more
Apr 17, 2016 Jay rated it it was amazing
Only very recently, T.C. Boyle 19s 1CGreasy Lake 1D was placed on a banned book list by a school district near Santa Barbara. It just so happens that this school district was right down the road from where T.C. makes his current residence. When T.C. found out that a parent 19s objection to one word in the title story was enough to pressure the school to take the book off the shelves, he volunteered to speak at the school.
1CThey (the parent groups) ll hang you, 1D said the school 19s principal u
Jan 22, 2014 Randy rated it really liked it
Title story is as gripping and amazing as I remember. Happy to re-read this collection. Boyle has a great knack for voice and for making history powerfully personal.
Feb 18, 2011 Anthony rated it really liked it
I first read the title story in college, and always meant to read more of Boyle's work. This year, as I've been keeping track of all the short stories I've read in magazines and such over in [info]365shortstories , I realized that I was coming across quite a few new Boyle stories, and maybe it was time to seek out a collection of his. I found several, but it took a while to find this one, with the story I wanted to re-read.

It's a truism, at least to me, that all short story collections are by th
Jennifer M. Hartsock
Apr 08, 2011 Jennifer M. Hartsock rated it it was ok
I love the line: the air soft as a hand on your cheek. This line melted my heart. I recommend this story. It’s ironic that at the end of the story, the girl asks if he’s seen this missing person, and what makes it ironic is that how the boys now look will give her the impression (once she finds her dead friend) that these were the boys who did it. The imagery is well done; chock full of detail and description so you envision the scene.

This story describes the scum of society, but in a way that l
May 02, 2016 Justine rated it it was ok
2 Stars out of 5 Stars

While this story is okay (not at all terrible or boring), I was a bit bothered by the inconsistencies in the narrator's voice. Our narrator is a 19 year old wanna-be bad boy, but the words Boyle chose to have him think and say appear out of the character's league - especially someone who has been drinking all night as our character has. One of these phrases is "Glandular discharges": there is not one 19 year old that I know of, especially one who would be any where close to
Jan 29, 2016 Ed rated it it was amazing
T. Coraghessan Boyle is a prolific writer -- winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award for his novel World's End, and Distinguished Professor of English at the University of Southern California. This is the first of his many collections of short stories I have read. The stories are imaginative, perceptive and engaging. Five stars.
Dec 03, 2015 Bridget rated it really liked it
No write appeals more to my sense of shame than Boyle. His stories an emotional train wreck and I can't stop reading.
Jake Berlin
funny, touching, clever, interesting, vivid...not sure what else you could ask for out of a collection of short stories
Nov 02, 2012 Andrea rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This early collection, while not as consistently unerring as, say, After the Plague: and Other Stories or Wild Child and Other Stories, is still full of polished surprises. A few of the experiments are nice tries (but no cigar), yet even the less successful ones come through with a certain stinging tone - and that's something Boyle manages to nail every time.
Adrienne Girard
Jan 06, 2008 Adrienne Girard rated it liked it
Recommended to Adrienne by: some random guy in a bar in milltown
i got this book b/c the title track is set in my favorite bruce springsteen song, "spirit in the night." that story didn't completely live up to the song for me, but t.c. boyle is a good, creative writer nonetheless. "the new moon party" was absolutely brilliant. on the other hand, some of the other stories ("on for the long haul") seemed like forever to get through, as short as they are.
Oct 22, 2015 KT rated it liked it
I only actually read The New Moon Party for a project. It was alright.
Dec 21, 2010 Jeff rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
I feel lukewarm at best about this collection. I don't know if the bloom is off the rose for me re: Boyle or I'm just not liking the short story format, which I've read very little of.

Perhaps I'll pick up Les Misérables to try the other extreme length-wise.

Another issue I think is that many of the stories are in the 1st person and Boyle is one of those authors whose writing just doesn't seem right in the 1st person. Call me crazy.
Jan 19, 2008 Paul rated it liked it
One of his earlier books, and the stories have a more raw feeling than some of his later work. Still, the satire is strong in stories like "The New Moon Party". His style is so distinctive that even his mediocre stories are still fun to read.
Jan 04, 2016 Ron rated it liked it
Boyle continues to impress in his second collection of short fiction. While he is an undisputed master of the novel, he is one of the rare few who also excels at short fiction. As with any such collection, there is an occasional misstep, but that does not diminish the quality of the great work and a four star rating for this collection is the highest praise.
Sep 26, 2008 Liz rated it it was amazing
Boyle's writing is always good but sometimes his characters - as befitting in satire - are annoying; not sympathetic. This set of short stories contained three or four that I just loved, for whatever reason. And he, again, didn't disappoint me in my gentle expansion of my vocabulary. I have to keep the dictionary handy for the trickle of new and interesting words.
Apr 17, 2008 Steven rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-stories
I went back to reread some of my favorite stories in this collection: “Caviar,” “Greasy Lake,” “Stones in My Passageway, Hellhound on My Trail,” “All Shook Up,” and “Rara Avis.” Boyle is just a master at mingling concrete details and figurative language, in fact, I think he gets away with using more similes than just about any other writer I can think of.
Dec 28, 2008 James rated it it was ok
I really enjoy Boyle's work, but I didn't enjoy this collection of short stories nearly as much as others. Maybe they are actually better and I am just burnt out on his style. Anyway, the best stories are the first one, Greasy Lake, and the last one, Overcoat II, which is an updated version of Gogol's short story, reset in the late Soviet period.
Feb 06, 2016 Bryan rated it really liked it
An immersive depiction of a group of kids trying way too hard, biting off more than they can chew, and choking on the excess, Boyle captures a surreal moment in time when a boy grows up a little. At once both tragic and comic, this story begs to be read over and over, providing a different glimpse into a darker corner each time.
Natalie Homer
Jun 13, 2014 Natalie Homer rated it it was ok
Shelves: short-fiction
I read this because I found "Caviar" in another anthology, and thought it was one of the best short stories I'd ever read. Now I'm thinking it may have been a one hit wonder, because the rest of this collection was okay--nothing special--and certainly nowhere near the same level as "Caviar."
Jan 08, 2008 Maki rated it did not like it
Short stories are great when they are either crisp and to the point or meandering and poetic. Greasy Lake, to me, felt like neither. Maybe it was the word "greasy" that ruined these for me. These stories felt heavy and dark... and I don't like it.
Mar 28, 2015 Lynn rated it really liked it
There are some really creative stories in this collection. A couple of them have a snarky smartass voice that I'm not crazy about.....but I loved "Greasy Lake", "The New Moon Party" and "All Shook Up."
Jul 13, 2014 Meg rated it liked it
Shelves: mugs
Creative stories, lots of fun weirdness and macabre endings. I would have liked it more if the endings had varied more- almost all ended in self-destruction and/or imminent death, and this became predictable.
Lynn Kassover
Jul 17, 2011 Lynn Kassover rated it really liked it
This is an earlier collection of stories. Some are a bit dark, but all are perfectly TC Boyle. I read most while on a break or when I just felt like a break from the novel I'm reading.
Nov 19, 2012 Tess rated it it was amazing
"Greasy Lake" was one of the first short stories I ever read by Boyle. I was totally blown away. I've been a fan ever since. This story is a must read for anyone!
Mar 25, 2011 Martina rated it liked it
Shelves: short-stories
Did not like the language but was very infatuated by the thought that a lake could change the living standards for three boys in just one night.
Jul 15, 2008 Indra rated it it was amazing
I love his stories. The first time I heard the title, I thought it was "Greasy Leg", so I can't say "Greasy Lake" without laughing.
Bruce Zimmerman
Jan 10, 2008 Bruce Zimmerman rated it liked it
I read this after reading another TC Boyle novel that I really enjoyed. Love the title, can't help but think of Springsteen
Jul 25, 2008 Eric rated it really liked it
The 4 stars are for the title story, one of my favorites ever.
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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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