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Riven Rock

3.61 of 5 stars 3.61  ·  rating details  ·  1,989 ratings  ·  161 reviews
Boyle zu lesen ist ein Erlebnis und Genuß, wie man ihn nur selten im Jahr hat; wort- und sprachgewaltig ragen seine Bücher heraus.

Die Geschichte des Buches ist bedenklich dürr und im Prolog des Buches Welt ohne Frauen auf den ersten beiden Seiten bereits fast vollständig erzählt: Der Millionen erbe Stanley McCormick, erfolgreicher Harvard Student, groß, blond, sportlich,

Paperback, 564 pages
Published June 1st 2000 by Deutscher Taschenbuch-Verlag (first published 1998)
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(showing 1-30 of 2,869)
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Carl Brush
When you’re in a tight spot, it’s not unreasonable to turn to the familiar folks of the past for comfort, so I turned to T.C. Boyle when I needed an airplane book quick. Oh, well, I suppose he did his best, but I wonder why he turned his considerable talents to this lugubrious subject.

Riven Rock is a cheerless tale of obsessions. A novelized account of the life of Robert Stanley McCormick, Youngest son of Cyrus, the reaper inventor, it details the descent of a dashing, eccentric, young aristocr
So, I've had a few days to think about this one. An oddity. Off-kilter and skewed in more ways than one. But I liked it! So, yes, odd is good.

And this is one of the oddest (and saddest) of love stories. The power of love (whatever that is) unites Stanley and Katherine, and a peculiar, unidentified force (call it madness, insanity, dementia praecox, schizophrenia, or the prescribed treatment of said diagnoses)keeps them apart for ...decades. The long, mostly uneventful saga moves forward in time
I was very mixed on this one. As usual, Boyle's writing was wonderful, descriptive, and puts you in every scene in the story. However, to me the plot seemed lacking. There didn't seem to be any momentum to the story. The same things seemed to happen over and over without change. I'll admit there were some fascinating aspects to the story of Stanley McCormick who was the mentally unbalanced heir to the McCormick reaper fortune. The story shifts between Stanley's inability to get along in society, ...more
Surprisingly I am sort of bugged down here. I love T.C.Boyle. I totally swallowed "Talk talk" (oh, well, it is a thriller :), and really liked "Women" and many stories. "Tortilla Curtain" was also quite good. "When the killing is done" was tough but I muddled through because the issues were very important IMHO (illegal immigration in "Curtain" and environmental conservation in "Killing"). But "Riven Rock"... well... I just cannot seem to care about any of the characters... learned plenty about t ...more
Derek Bridge
The brilliant T. C. Boyle, modern-day Dickens, here gives a fictionalized account of the lives of Stanley McCormick, sex fiend and heir to a harvester fortune, and Katherine McCormick (nee Dexter), his loyal wife, who, ironically since she never enjoyed sexual relations with her husband, contributes to the development of the Pill.

There's a lovely counterpoint in this fiction: the story of Eddie O'Kane. O'Kane is presented as one of Stanley's carers. O Kane's problems with women are almost as gre
Tony Torres
My favorite book by one of my favorite authors. This is one of those books that I truly wish went on forever. Here is where I fell in love with T.C. Boyle and his slow-build-to-rollicking-crescendo storytelling.
Riven Rock was named by it's prisoner, Stanley McCormick, heir to the corporation that was to become International Harvester. The house in California was acquired and fitted out for Stanley's older sister, whose schizophrenia made it impossible for her to live normally. The estate has a boulder in the middle of which a tree grew and split the boulder in half. This is a metaphor for Stanley's own brand of mental illness, which ultimately lead to his being incarcerated there.

While his wife Katheri
Geoffrey Benn
T.C. Boyle is one of my favorite contemporary writers. This novel did nothing to sway me from that judgement. The central element of the novel is Stanley McCormick, son of the famous Cyrus McCormick. Stanley suffers from a form of psychosis that causes him to brutally attack women. The leading experts of the time decree that he must be totally isolated from women in order for healing to occur. He is thus isolated at a California mansion called Riven Rock, where he is cared for by a team includin ...more
There were a lot of things that I greatly enjoyed about this book. As usual, Boyle is a master of description. He sets each scene so that you feel you are there reading the faces of the characters and feeling the emotion of the room. Riven Rock is written just as cleverly and well as his other books. The historic nature of the book is also really interesting. Boyle is clearly interested in aspects of the treatment of mental illness (in this book and others) and the book provides a nice overview ...more
Katherine Duran
At first, great. Very engaging. The characters grow on you, then begin to suffocate you. I was so sick of the main character's alcoholism, the protagonist's mental illness, and his wife's reluctance to get free from her sick husband.
This author is one of my favorites, but this may be my least favorite of his books.
This book is an interesting portrayal of early psycho-sexual analysis that follows three different people, all with their own wildly impressive sexual hangups, through their interactions with each other and how they eventually (kinda) cope.

The story is historically accurate for the time period, something I always admire about Boyle. The characters have surprising depth and are easy to sympathize with, despite being pretty terrible people, and in true Boyle style he spares no visualizations and s
It's been a while since I picked up a T.C. Boyle book. I so enjoy him as an author, but man are these missives dense! This one took me a particularly long time to get through, but much of that can be blamed on the World Series.

It's beautifully written as you'd only expect from Boyle, but I found myself troubled by several things. First, I still have no idea who the protagonist was supposed to be: Katherine, the wife who stands by her husband but flies in the face of the prescribed gender roles
This book takes place at an interesting time in history, during the time of prohibition, the suffragettes, the early influence of Freud on the treatment of mental illness, the attempts of women to control their own bodies with birth control. At the same time that ii was reading this book, I was watching the HBO series, Boardwalk Empire, which is set in Atlantic City during the same time period. I must Admit,, the TV series was more riveting than the book because TC Boyle doesn't really make any ...more
An excellent historical novel about Stanley McCormick, son and heir of Cyrus McCormick, who invented of the reaper. Stanley suffered from paranoid schizophrenia for his entire adult life and was confined in the house that was built for his sister, who also suffered from the same mental illness. The story moves easily from the house in Santa Barbara where he is treated by a series of psychiatrists and kept from the company of women, to the personal love life of one of his male nurses, to the even ...more
Boyle is one of the most unsung novelists in America, yet this effort can only be called an epic failure. As is typical of his historical fiction, Boyle shoots for the moon with mixed results. As compelling as a tale of sexual deviance should be, Boyle somehow manages to make the topic boring while also offering little insight into the character or the mode of the times (a blurb said it was an examination of mental illness and misogyny, but the truth is the Boyle wanders aimlessly without a firm ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Christine Ward
Another excellent story from T.C. Boyle. Boyle is at his best when describing the foibles of people's sexual mores, especially in stories such as this one, which is set at the turn of the century.
Stanley McCormick, one of Cyrus McCormick's sons and joint heir to the International Harvester corporation, is married to an early feminist and first female graduate of MIT, Katherine Dexter. It should be a renowned society "match", except for the fact that McCormick is schizophrenic, and manifests this
Alissa Maddren
I have lived most of my life on California's central coast, so it's ironic that I picked this book up at Powell's in Portland, OR, having no idea it was set in such a familiar environment.

The surroundings play a large part in this story, almost as important as the characters. There is an interesting parallel between the main characters who live in "paradise", yet are unable to truly enjoy their surroundings due to the conscripted lives they lead; in Stanley's case, his profound mental illness c
I always find a book more impressive when I know it is based on real facts, events that have happened or people that have gone through what the book tells about.Stanley McCormick and Katherine Dexter take me back to Wharton's Age of Innocence, but their sufferings and tortured love seem much more heartbreaking.
Edward O'Kane is Boyle himself, more real and more flesh and blood than the characters he follows with his unforgivable eyes.Through his own story we learn all about Katherine, the woman
This lengthy novel is based on real characters. Stanley McCormick is an heir to Cyrus McCormick, and Katherine Dexter is a socialite, suffragist and scientist. They meet and marry, but the marriage is never consummated. Soon after, Stanley is diagnosed as a schizophrenic and sexual psychopath and locked away -- far from the company of women -- for decades. Katherine is active in the budding woman's movement and as a birth-control advocate. She also oversees her husband's business interests and t ...more
I think I've officially stopped reading this book. I started it over the winter break, and though I have tried to make myself go back to it, the protagonist's voice is SO incredibly misogynistic that I've found myself dreading picking it up. Boyle's other reads have never felt that way to me (and I've read a lot of Boyle), but I picked up most of them quite some time ago, perhaps at a time in my life when I was less tuned in to what can often be very subtle signs of patriarchy and sexism in lite ...more
With a hand in mental health and illness, in sexuality and guilt, in the role of women in the early 20th century, Riven Rock was a deeply satisfying read.
The characters, so complex, sad and human, pull the reader into their motivations and spirals. You can track their highs and lows, and see them change.
The thing I love about TC Boyle, is his ability to make time pass without noticing it. As I think back to early parts of this book (I finished it moments ago), I'm amazed at how much time was s
Beth Wonson
Good luck finding this one. I think I found it on Amazon. It is the story of Stanley McCormick from one of America's richest families - Katherine his bride and the first woman graduate of MIT and their mental illness, struggles, hopes and hopelessness. It involves places that I love to read about - Boston, NY and Santa Barbara CA when it was the promised land of fruit and good weather.

TC Boyle does the same here as he did in Road to Wellville - which is to take an amazing time in history, amazin
Linda Owen
This wasn't exactly the compelling read my sister promised when she gave me her copy, but it is beautifully written, beautifully observed, and a wonderful fictionalized realization of historical characters. There is no real suspense or development to the story. It reminded me of musical compositions by Philip Glass, with repeating patterns and chords that don't actually go anywhere but are still wonderful to listen to.
Joy H.
Added in 2009.
See short description (and link to sample) at:

DESCRIPTION at link above:
"This extraordinary love story, based on historical characters and written with Boyle's customary brilliance and wit, follows the lives of two scarred creatures living in a magical age. It is the turn of the century. Stanley McCormick, the twenty-nine-year-old heir to the great Reaper fortune, meets and marries Katherine Dexter, a woman of 'power, beauty, wealth and prest
I decided to read Riven Rock by T C Boyle after reading The Women. Boyle writes of an unforgettable cast of characters, and once again, I was left wondering how much was real and how much is fiction. Since his story is based on actual characters it leaves me wanting to know more about the actual history of the McCormick family, which had all the money and prestige that money could buy, but not everything could be cured with cash. Stanley, the mad schizophrenic, his newly married wife, the doctor ...more
I started this book because I liked the other book I read by the same author, and I liked the idea of a sordid tale about one of America's "old money" families. I had a hard time getting past an initial sense this was just a way to sensationalize a past chapter in the McCormick family history, but by the end I was fully engaged in the story and found it a worthwhile read, though it is not on my list of books to read before you die, that's for sure.
The novelized real & sad story the horrible mental illness of Stanley McCormick and his wife Katherine's decision to care for him so he would not be institutionalized.

The real Katherine McCormick funded early birth control research.
Susan Hester
A historical novel about Stanley McCormick, the son and heir of the inventor of the reaper, the machine device which revolutionized farming, and his loyal wife Katherine who spends decades trying to find a cure for Stanley's severe mental illness. Boyle successfully takes a skeleton of truth, fleshing out imagined scenarios behind the facts. Fascinating but disturbing, crazy, sad, and at times, funny. Recommend that readers look at the following link to understand more about the central characte ...more
In 1905, Stanley McCormick, heir to East Coast millions, is most definitely mad. Heredity and an early, horrifying glimpse of his naked sister have rendered him schizophrenic, incapable of being around women--right down to his wife, Katherine, "a newlywed who might as well have been a widow." Not even the dawn of modern psychiatry can save him. Instead, he's barred and carefully cosseted in Riven Rock, the California estate he helped design for his sister, the first of the McCormicks to crack. W ...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
More about T.C. Boyle...
The Tortilla Curtain Drop City The Women The Road to Wellville The Inner Circle

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