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Budding Prospects: A Pastoral

3.83  ·  Rating Details ·  1,730 Ratings  ·  133 Reviews
All Felix Nasmyth and friends have to do is harvest a crop of Cannabis Sativa......and half a million tax-free dollars will be theirs. But they haven't reckoned on nosy Northern California-style neighbors, torrential rain, demands of the flesh, and Felix's improbable new love, a wayward sculptress on whose behalf he undertakes a one-man vendetta against a drug-busting stat ...more
Paperback, 326 pages
Published May 1990 by Penguin Books (first published 1984)
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The Emperor Wears No Clothes by Jack HererMid Ocean by T. Rafael CiminoSmoke Signals by Martin A. LeeMarijuana Is Safer by Steve FoxStoner with a boner by Kathleen K.
Best Books about Marijuana
5th out of 26 books — 37 voters
Drop City by T.C. BoyleThe Tortilla Curtain by T.C. BoyleBudding Prospects by T.C. BoyleRiven Rock by T.C. BoyleEast Is East by T.C. Boyle
Best of T.C. Boyle
2nd out of 12 books — 3 voters

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Community Reviews

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Tiffoknee the 3rd Conner
Aug 12, 2008 Tiffoknee the 3rd Conner rated it it was amazing
A man I used to have sex with in California recommended this book to me. One sublime post-coital morning I noticed that his bookshelves were well populated with Boyle's books. I told the man that I'd never read any of Boyle's work.

"Here," the man said. "Start with this one."

At first I thought he'd given me the book because he knew I was an avid pot smoker. But then I grew hopeful that he meant for the book to have some symbolic meaning. As in, our pairing was its own "budding prospect." That w
Nov 07, 2015 Steven rated it it was amazing
Shelves: novels, crime-noir
Probably read this more than a dozen times now, still one of my all-time favorite books. Don't let the pastoral part of the title fool you. These guys are farming pot. It's crime. Also picaresque. Maximalist word-play.
May 27, 2008 Jmoscari rated it really liked it
Though, at its base, the novel may seem like a simple story about the misadventures of a group of guys who get caught-up in a pot growing scheme, it quickly becomes apparent that so much more is at work here. Felix's quirky and often hyperbolic first person narration gives the story a mock-epic feel, which, first, makes for some hilarious situations and, second, creates an interesting critique of how we view the problems we face, especially in comparison to how those problems play out in the gra ...more
Nov 05, 2010 Chris rated it it was amazing
I thought if Prop 19 passed, this would be a quaint reminder of the bygone days of prohibition, but since Prop 19 didn't pass, this book may serve as a field guide, cautionary tale, and call to arms for DIY 420ers. A pastoral set in 1970s California about a dude who never finishes anything who goes in with two buddies to solve all his woes by making a big killing clandestinely raising a crop of pot in the mountains of NoCal. As with most Boyle novels, anything that can go wrong for the narrator ...more
Feb 19, 2008 Josh rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: all of my chippies
Recommended to Josh by: Tom DeSavia
So 5 stars may seem a little on the chubby-side for a book that is more like an Elmore Leonard/Carl Hiassen-style light-hearted adventure tale, but I had never read a TC Boyle book before, and I haven't been this "into" a book in a really long time. I read the vast majority of it in about 4 days, and then moved, lost it in a box of stuff, became generally disinterested in reading for about a week or 2, then finished it! The writing is beautiful, the characters/situations relatively relatable, an ...more
Dec 31, 2008 Sarah rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 08, 2016 culley rated it it was amazing
The narrative voice of this novel is so playful that I read most sentences with a smile on my face. At the end of each paragraph I’d have to stop and massage my aching sides and wipe tears of laughter from my eyes. I’ve heard that Boyle’s tone has become darker and more cynical over the years. I am interested in these darker books and will read some of them soon. But, as an introduction to his style, I am glad that I started with one of first books. Pure, delightful comedy. It’s going on the fav ...more
Jürgen Zeller
Feb 14, 2016 Jürgen Zeller rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Die letzten beiden Romane von T. C. Boyle (San Miguel und Hart auf Hart) habe ich auf anraten von kritischen Lesern in meinem persönlichen Umfeld ausgelassen. Nicht oder nur bedingt empfehlenswert seien die beiden neuesten Romane des amerikanischen Erfolgsschriftstellers. Erfreut nahm ich irgendwann im Winter zur Kenntnis, dass der Hanser Verlag Boyles zweiten Roman aus dem Jahre 1984 von Dirk van Gunsteren neu hat übersetzen lassen und in schöner Hardcover Ausgabe Anfang Februar auf den Markt g ...more
Dec 07, 2015 Ron rated it really liked it
I liked The Harder They Come so much that I thought I should look back on some early efforts, and I found that I had acquired a new copy of Budding Prospects and had not re-read it yet. It certainly had the propulsive stylistic energy that I remember (and that he still has, by and large), but aside from the darkly comic story, it had no particular resonance. There were no themes lurking under the text (except for the old beware of get-rich-quick schemes) and aside from the narrator, Volgelsang, ...more
Jillian Fischer
Jul 10, 2016 Jillian Fischer rated it it was amazing
Honestly, I have a difficult time reviewing T.C. Boyle's books. First of all, I'm pretty good at expressing myself & my experiences in writing, & often find myself reading a novel & thinking, "I could have written that!" But occasionally I come across a writer--Robert Penn Warren ("All the King's Men), Thomas Wolfe ("You Can't Go Home Again"), Carson McCullers ("The Heart is a Lonely Hunter") & now, T.C. Boyle--whose writing is so far above 99% of the truly excellent writing out ...more
Jun 26, 2008 Trenton rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an enormously entertaining story of a self-styled quitter who finally sees something through the end, an illegal and hapless get-rich-quick scheme. The writing is sharp, clever and very, very funny. After reading just this book, I'm now a fan of T.C. Boyle. I should have read this a long time ago when Keith told me to.
Jun 11, 2014 Kathryn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I came into this book not expecting to like it, given the subject matter, but that's one of the things I love about being in a Bookclub, I'm exposed to books outside of the normal scope of what I would seek out. First and foremost, I think TC Boyle is a talented writer, the King of figurative language, every scene left a clear image in my mind. I found myself rereading lines, and savoring them. His characters are three-dimensional, and leap off the page in all of their quirks and oddities, they ...more
Karen Frasier
Feb 25, 2010 Karen Frasier rated it it was ok
Stuck about half way thorough. I don't care anough about the characters or the events to bother to finish. But it gets 2 stars instead of 1 because Boyle is a good writer. Just not good enough to get me interested in these losers and their dope farm.
David Ward
Jun 03, 2015 David Ward rated it liked it
Budding Prospects: A Pastoral by T. Coraghessan Boyle (Viking Press 1984) (Fiction). The premise of this exciting novel is that our protagonist decides to throw in with a couple of buddies and raise a huge outdoor marijuana crop. Our happy farmers are beginners; the “grows” of most beginners underperform because of the growers' mistakes and inexperience. In addition, by the standards of 2015, the grow methods employed in 1984 were quite primitive. Our three guys expect to realize a profit of $50 ...more
Sep 04, 2015 Chuck rated it did not like it
This book was a major disappointment. While Boyle is a clever writer and several scenes packed some real humor these facets didn't come close to compensating for the shallow characters, poor plot development, and inconsistent story. Particularly galling was the fact that (spoiler alert!) the antagonist, Officer Jerpbak of the California Highway Patrol, was written out of the book in an off-stage incident rather than through a direct confrontation. That, along with the implausibly neat-and-tidy c ...more
Bob Martin
Jun 14, 2015 Bob Martin rated it it was ok
A humor novel of wacky adventure that wasn't very funny about characters I didn't care about. I felt like it was going for a Carl Hiasson type of thing, but swung and missed. Maybe his other books are a lot better.

A 30 year old in San Francisco man, sort of an overgrown teenager, is approached by a friend to spend nine months at a remote location in northern California to grow a crop of high-grade marijuana and make a lot easy money. One thing after another goes wrong. Really, it really needed t
Jul 19, 2012 Jennifer rated it did not like it
Boring and obvious. Boyle's worst. I had to force myself to finish. I just didn't care about these characters.
Val Wilkerson
Feb 22, 2016 Val Wilkerson rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016-books-read
I am a big fan of T.C. Boyle. The ending of this book made the entire story worthwhile for me.....its about a group of friends who are approached by another friend to spend time on the property he has acquired in Northern California to grow a large crop of marijuana, and its is indicated that they will make a good deal of money on less then a year's time. They are in. They had not quite realized how much work was in front of them, how they would need to stay up in the not so modern cabin and avo ...more
Feb 09, 2014 Glglgl rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Grün ist die Hoffnung ist ein gewohnt gutes Buch von T.C. Boyle. Es strotzt vor Witz, Sarkasmus und schiefen Metaphern. Hier hat der gleiche Boyle geschrieben, der später "Ein Freund der Erde" verfassen würde, wenn es auch nicht ganz an jenes Buch heran kommt, u.a. weil es im zweiten Drittel einige Längen hat. Mit großer Lust am Fabulieren erzählt der Autor die Sommer-Geschichte eines Antihelden. Es geht um seine Träume vom großen Geld, seine Ängste und sein Versagen, Freundschaft, Feindschaft, ...more
Einen ganzen Sommer über mühen drei Hippies sich ab und bauen in den Hügeln nördlich von San Francisco Marihuana an, um endlich an das große Geld zu kommen. Der Botaniker, der sie dabei beraten soll, lässt sich bald nicht mehr blicken, denn er hat das Projekt als Misserfolg abgeschrieben. Nur der Initiator, dem das Grundstück gehört, bleibt bis zum Schluss zuversichtlich ...
Das ist der Hintergrund von T.C.Boyles Klassiker, der mit viel Humor, außergewöhnlicher Fabulierlust und Freude an ausgefal
Laura Foti
Jan 14, 2015 Laura Foti rated it it was amazing
God, I loved this book! It's almost impossible to believe it is 30 years old - it reads like a documentary of what's going on right now, not just in Mendocino county but all over California and a number of other states as "budding" entrepreneurs chase weed riches. The characters were so vivid, so believable, I felt as though they were standing in my kitchen, filthy and frustrated, their dream turning into a nightmare. The richness of Boyle's language and the acuity of his portrayals just slayed ...more
Jeremy Zerbe
Jul 18, 2008 Jeremy Zerbe rated it it was ok
For a long time, I've wanted to read a book by T.C. Boyle. He's a pretty respected guy in the world of literature, and his work has even produced the wonderfully clever 1994 film, The Road to Wellville. So when I was in one of my Frenzies last summer, I finally picked up what sounded like the most interesting of his novels, Budding Prospects, advertised on the back cover as something of a slapstick adventure of three friends trying to make a half-million dollars from growing pot in the woods of ...more
May 02, 2014 Kent rated it it was ok
It was ok. I read enough of this to be satisfied. This was a pretty thin story, but he fattens up the book at literally every opportunity. I don't mind a writer exercising their vocabulary, especially when it really works, but I can't stand witnessing a writer's masturbatory language burnout. Boyle is ridiculous. And it isn't charming and poetic like Tom Robbins; it's just kind if gross and definitely annoying and awful, awful snobbish in the most I-want-to-serve-you-an-open-face-f-you-sandwich ...more
Sep 02, 2016 Cathy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2016
I really really liked The Tortilla Curtain, and did enjoy Drop City too. This one however was different. At first I loved it, particularly the fabulous writing, so sharp, funny, witty and exuberant. By about half way thru tho, I was getting somewhat bored by the lack of much story, and it started to feel too much like creative writing (altho how creative) just for the sake of being clever, than for telling a story, and I reluctantly skimmed the rest of it, rather than not finishing it at all. Di ...more
Malcolm Frawley
Aug 14, 2015 Malcolm Frawley rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned
I had already consumed a dozen of Boyle's books - he is one of my favourite contemporary authors - but had somehow missed this early (1984) work. It's up there amongst his best. A great story-teller, Boyle takes us from germination to harvest of a marijuana crop planted in the certainty that it will make all participants in the scheme wealthy beyond imagining. Brilliantly-drawn characters kept me engaged throughout & the inevitable looming disaster is masterfully handled. A prolific & gi ...more
Oct 30, 2014 Sheri rated it really liked it
A timely read, what with the legalization of marijuana in Colorado and my own state of Washington. The semi-losers who go into the still illegal marijuana grow business in northern California find out just how difficult a business that is, with the possibility of arrest for trafficking hanging over their heads the entire time. Boyle writes humorously of their travails.
Feb 07, 2015 Kevin rated it liked it
A loser takes up a well-to-do, entrepreneurial friend on an offer to join a group of people with various skills needed to grow a large crop of marijuana in the California hinterlands. Locals have differing responses to their cover stories, and a zealous local policeman is on a crusade to catch anyone involved in any way with drugs.
Elizabeth Sobieski
Aug 24, 2015 Elizabeth Sobieski rated it it was amazing
T.C. Boyle is one of the best and often funniest wordsmiths writing today. I did not read this hilarious novel in 1984, but thirty years post publication, when marijuana farming has become legal in many places, relegating Budding Prospects as not only satire but a slice of history.
Geoffrey Benn
Mar 30, 2013 Geoffrey Benn rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
The second of TC Boyle’s novels, Budding Prospects, follows a group of thirty-something degenerates from Northern California as they attempt to grow 1000 pounds of high grade pot in the woods of Mendecino county. With the guidance of a Yale degreed botanist and the financial backing of the sketchy Vogelsang, Felix (narrator), Phil, and Gesh spend a summer in a rundown cabin trying to grow a large crop of pot while avoiding trouble with the police and locals. Numerous setbacks turn their labor in ...more
Oct 09, 2014 Aidy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My first ever TC Boyle, and amongst my favourites, I actually preferred it on second reading, shorn of suspense, the book revealed the intricacies of it's humour, often causing me to laugh out loud (rather than LOL). I love this book!
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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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