Wild Child
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Wild Child

3.69 of 5 stars 3.69  ·  rating details  ·  1,119 ratings  ·  175 reviews
A new collection from the American master of the short story

A feral boy is captured and ‘civilised’ in the Languedoc region. A young woman is hired to look after a cloned dog that cost its owners $250,000. A widower in a self-satisfied suburb engulfs his loneliness in a sea of rats. A weary city GP is baffled by a Mexican boy, the son of a taco-seller, who can feel no pain...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published January 1st 2010 by Viking (first published December 22nd 2009)
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Beth
Oct 30, 2013 Beth rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Beth by: The New Yorker
Shelves: library-book
This collection of stories deftly tackles the main literary conflicts in such a brilliant way (man v man, society, self, and nature). Boyle's style is always on the mark and oftentimes deadpan funny. Though I wasn't happy with how some of the individual stories ended, the final story, Wild Child, nearly took my breath away in how it surprisingly pulled the entire collection together. If I were still teaching HS English, I would want to assign this, though there are some sex scenes that might not...more
Lacey N.
Yes, it's absolutely true: T.C. Boyle is a master of the short story. In "Balto," a young girl is asked to lie in court for her alcoholic father, even as she matures into her own, powerful self; in "Sin Dolor," a young boy living in squalor marvels a community--including its detached doctor--by his absence of feeling physical pain; in "Anacapa," the only story not previously anthologized, the narrator discovers what he most needs even as he fades away. The title story, "Wild Child," is more a no...more
A.M.
Aug 29, 2011 A.M. rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to A.M. by: Maura
This is my first taste of TC Boyle's writing and I have to admit to being impressed by his style, his unusual imagery and turns of phrase that capture the imagination.

It's difficult to sum up an anthology containing so many short stories (14, to be precise, each fairly lengthy), but many of these contain vivid, very human and ultimately flawed characters -- there is a sense of disillusion, loneliness, and of the compromises we make with ourselves in order to find some sort of love or companionsh...more
Denise
Wild Child is T.C. Boyle's latest collection of short stories. The majority of these stories are about the chaos that nature injects in everyday, orderly life and how that chaos changes people. Mudslides, escaped tigers, thousands of rats, and feral boys all rampage across these pages challenging people and changing them. There is a tinge of magical realism in some of the stories, plenty of tragedy, and even a sprinkling of hope.

What struck me most about these stories was how often I wanted more...more
Sridhar
Until I read T C Boyle, I don't think I had encountered another fiction writer who takes a sensitive consciousness of nature, ecology, and environment, and blends it intricately with an understanding of people and of humanity. His stories are well written, well told, too (as I heard him read 'The Lie', a story in this book). As a fiction writer, Boyle deftly uses stories to explore human dimensions of environmental issues and activism, by going into the lives of activists as well as the people t...more
Cdrueallen
The stories in WILD CHILD confirmed my suspicion that T.C. Boyle is the most interesting fiction writer working in the U.S. today. I won't say North America, as Canada has Atwood and Munro, but Boyle is clearly in their all-star league. He wasn't always one of my favorites. His earlier stories were too white and male for me. But he steadily widened his point of view and improved his always impressive technical abilities until he was able to produce what I consider one of the finest novels of the...more
Lars Guthrie
In one of those weird confluences of coincidences, I was traveling west on the Pacific Coast Highway with my mother and father and sister towards Santa Barbara (home of T.C. Boyle). At La Conchita, traffic suddenly jammed up, and we just squeezed past a serious accident, a small pickup loaded with white sacks of something soft, now scattered across the highway, its cab flattened nearly below the load bed, an SUV turned toward oncoming cars, horn blaring, onlookers rushing to help, already talkin...more
Michael
Wild Child is not TC Boyle's best collection of short fiction. Far too often, the stories seemed unsatisfying. I'm not talking about the quality--the writing is superb--rather the feeling of completeness that stories in some of his other collections possessed.

That said, Wild Child possesses some gems, specifically "Balto," a story about a child whose father asks her to lie for him in court. "La Conchita," which is about an organ delivery man forced to play hero during a horrific mudslide is exc...more
Vee41dmb
Not sure what I expected. The stories were OK, as in they kept me reading.
However, nothing really pulled me in. The exception was the Wild Child, which of course was at the end of the book. Wild Child was moving and well written.
I bought this book in the discount books section and thought I'd give it a try, because the name and the subject sounded like something that would grab me and lure me in. It did not. It wasn't horrible, it wasn't great. It was OK.
I don't think I'll be going out of my way...more
A-ron
I've always been a big fan of TC Boyle's short stories and this collection contains some excellent writing. The lead story, "Balto" was breathtaking in its skill. Other writers may have chosen the father for the protagonist, making it simply a story of drunken mistakes, but by putting the climax in the hands of the daughter, it gave it a whole new dimension and stands as one of the best stories I've read. The next story, "La Conchita" (in concert with "Ash Monday") explores the dangers of living...more
J
ugh. i just don't like short story collections. i keep trying, but no. it's like me and radiohead. i will admit, however, that i started reading this under false assumptions (that this was a. a classic and b. semi-autobiographical of the author's childhood), but i pretty quickly amended my expectations. still, i just didn't like it. i can't even explain myself. i won't think less of anyone who does like this book, but i really disliked it.
Lynn Pribus
Downloaded from library and it is NOT Wild Child and Other Stories. Just Wild Child. Interesting enough and ultimately very sad about a French boy about 5 y.o. in the 1700s who is taken to a woods by his mother (who just had too many children). She cuts his throat, but not fatally and he survives as a feral child until he is captured when he is about 12.

Some people try hard to tame and educate him, but learn that certain aspects of humanity must be mastered by an early age or the maturing brain...more
Lois
T.C.Boyle is a master of the short story with an incredible variety of characters, locales, plots. Satisfying in every way, especially the unforgettable title story.
Sherri
I really liked the audio version-- read by T.C. Boyle himself. Short fiction is the way to go for me with audio because it is broken up into parts so that you don't burnt out on a long novel. The novella Wild Child was one of my favorites in this collection. It makes me want to read or listen to more historical fiction by Boyle. Maybe I'll try The Women or the soon to be released When the Killings Done.

The first story, "Balto" seems like a perfect Junior Honors English research story (young tee...more
Paul Harris
My first read of anything by T. C. Boyle and I liked it. Unfortunately my library copy only had the title novella and there were no other accompanying short stories. It would have been good to have other stories to balance the feel of this particular story.

I was put in mind a little of the story of - The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser - in that the reader is introduced to a feral child with no language, no education, no self-awareness, no shame, no family, and so on. The story - based on the early 19th...more
Joe
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Cmacauley
In my opinion, T. Coraghessan Boyle is a genius who will remain popular and well-known for many decades to come. He is exceptionally skillful at both language and characterization and can describe a scene so precisely and with such vivid language that seeing it yourself would be less exciting. He knows how to weave light and shadow, smells and noises, and even motion together with a person's internal psychochemistry to put the reader into the middle of the story. My favorites among his books inc...more
Sam Quixote
A new TC Boyle short story book is a literary event and Boyle's latest short story collection is like his other collections - that is, it is nothing short of brilliant. He is the best short story writer alive at the moment and "Wild Child" cements his reputation for crafting well written stories that draw you into the characters' strange worlds and have you wanting more.

The best story here is a short novella called "Wild Child" about a young boy found hiding in the woods in 18th century France,...more
Jesse Field
It was on the New Yorker Fiction Podcast that I first heard Boyle's voice, reading Tobias' Wolff's story "Bullet in the Brain." Boyle has just the voice to explain how conventional characters behave in desperate situations -- there's a sort of forced lightness, alternately funny and then very much not. (Tobias Wolff actually has a similar voice, which is no coincidence, I think.) So when I saw that Wild Child was available as downloadable audio, with the author himself reading, I just had to giv...more
Brad Hodges
I'm a long time admirer of the short stories of T. Coraghessan Boyle (not so much of his novels). They frequently pop up in periodicals I read, such as The New Yorker and Playboy, and have a mordant sense of humor I respond to. His stories are all what I would consider "high concept," in that they are heavily plotted and center around a vividly expressed idea. His latest collection, Wild Child, contains some of that, but many of these works are more ambitious than his usual "ripped from the head...more
Thomas Holbrook
Reading short fiction, when it is GOOD short fiction, is akin to reading a novel in a few pages. The author must use fewer words to quickly: draw the reader into an unfamiliar world, connect them sufficiently with strangers so that what happens to those strangers “matters” to the reader and set a pace that flows without being rushed. After reading a well-written short story, I find it best to but the book aside for a bit and savor what I have just experienced/read. Based upon this book, T. C. B...more
Bastet
El egoísmo del ser humano no tiene límites cuando su único anhelo es el reconocimiento y la adulación. Paradójicamente, lo que hacen con el niño asilvestrado es inhumano, por mucho que sus sucesivos tutores (un tintorero, un comisionado, dos abades y un médico) aseguren que lo están humanizando: lo encierran en un armario cuando ellos consideran que se ha comportado mal, a veces sin ningún motivo; lo cuelgan de los tobillos a cinco pisos de altura para que escarmiente; no le dejan aliviarse sexu...more
Judi
Just finished "reading" the audio version of Wild Child by T.C. Boyle. T.C. Boyle was the narrator. What could be better? I am a fan of his novels, but this is my first experience with his short stories. A very diverse collection. I could elaborate on each story, but one story spooked me. I could relate to it on a very personal level. That story is titled Ash Monday. A kid (young teen)and his single working mom live in a house up in one of the local canyons. The San Gabriel Valley works in my mi...more
Richard Barager
Rather than give a general review of the entire collection, I will instead review a single story from this work--a moving piece called "Sin Dolor" (Without Pain)--the tenor and quality of which is representative of the entire group.

T. C. Boyle is a luminary of American literature, a graduate of the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop and a Distinguished Professor of English at USC. In 2009 he was inducted into The American Academy of Arts and Letters, considered the highest formal recognition o...more
Jung Kang
No I have not read Drop City, TC Boyle’s big hit thanks to Oprah’s Book Club mention.

But T.C. Boyle is a great storyteller and even more so when you listen to his audiobooks (all read by the author himself. I really appreciate audiobooks read by the author. It just seems so much more intimate that way.)

Snippets of short stories which took a bit for me to get used to because many of them seemed to lack a punchline sort of ending I was waiting for. Often times, I had to ask, ‘So what happened next...more
Aaron
The work of T. C. Boyle is often simultaneously very funny and very dark, populated with pretty undesirable characters caught up in circumstances beyond their control (though it could be argued that the catalyst for all these circumstances is usually, and undeniably, their fault). This collection of short stories proves to be pretty much what you would expect from his work.

For me, though, none of the stories in this set stuck out to me as mind-blowing. But all of them are pretty darn good.

Some f...more
Brian
T.C. Boyle seldom misses and makes it look easy. He moves between different styles and genres and in short story form, his economy of prose is masterful. The stories in Wild Child are a bit uneven. My favorite is the noirish La Conchita, about the deliverer of human organs who is trapped by a mudslide on US 101 on the California coast near Santa Barbara. You can smell the overturned earth and feel the tension in the story. The languid Three Quarters of the Way to Hell has a lot of atmosphere wit...more
Jim
The title story is a re-telling of the true story of Victor of Aveyron, a French boy found in the late 1700's who had lived most of his live as a feral child. The doctor who "civilized" him didn't always have the most honorable of motives. That story is an odd juxtaposition to most of the rest which are about modern California themes: lonely women, road rage, mudslides, botox, feral cats, a school board fight over teaching evolution, worry about the ozone layer, and a father pins his DWI on his...more
Ian
A mixed bag of short stories, some better, others I enjoyed less, but overall a worthwhile read if you are a fan of Boyle's writing. I found the titular story not as enthralling as other reviewers though, and given that it makes up about half of the book, it kind of pulled down the rating. The other shorts range from snippets of average lives in modern society to the bizarre that would not have been out of place in an episode of The Twilight Zone.
Eileen Iciek
These fourteen subtle, golden stories address the lives of (mostly) men that have gone astray, and the circumstances that return them, painfully, to the right track, usually through the help/kindness of the (mostly) women in their lives. The exceptions were one dog who helped a young woman get back on track, and one man whose life went off track following his wife's death. It is difficult to decide which is my favorite, but it would have to be either "Balto", the opening story, or "Admiral".

T.C...more
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Questions for T.C. Boyle 2 47 Jan 13, 2010 07:24PM  
  • Sourland
  • The Spot
  • What Becomes
  • Fun With Problems
  • The New Yorker Stories
  • Selected Stories
  • Vida
  • Memory Wall
  • Gryphon: New and Selected Stories
  • The Same River Twice
  • The Angel on the Roof
  • Long, Last, Happy: New and Collected Stories
  • The Hermit's Story: Stories
  • Pulse
  • Bound
  • Who Do You Love: Stories
  • White Egrets
  • American Subversive
1064072
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...
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“War der Mensch bei seiner Geburt eine tabula rasa, ungeformt und ohne Ideen, bereit, von der Gesellschaft beschrieben zu werden, erziehbar und imstande, auf dem Weg zur Vervollkommnung voranzuschreiten? Oder stellte die Gesellschaft, wie Rousseau behauptete, einen verderblichen Einfluss dar und nicht das Fundament alles Richtigen und Guten?” 2 likes
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