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When The Killing's Done

3.59  ·  Rating Details  ·  3,841 Ratings  ·  721 Reviews
From the bestselling author of The Women comes an action- packed adventure about endangered animals and those who protect them.

Principally set on the wild and sparsely inhabited Channel Islands off the coast of Santa Barbara, T.C. Boyle's powerful new novel combines pulse-pounding adventure with a socially conscious, richly humane tale regarding the dominion we attempt to
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published March 1st 2011 by Bloomsbury UK (first published 2011)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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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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Oct 24, 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 04, 2013 Caris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012, environmental
My recent tangle with mice and subsequent precarious dancing on that fine line between sanitary home and genuine rodentry has got me all introspective about invasive species.

Rodents, in particular, are funny. In pet stores, they’re pretty cute, but when they scurry across your kitchen counters and eat holes in the plastic bag surrounding your loaf of sandwich bread, they become some kind of otherworldly menace bent on spreading disease and filth. Nevermind that the pet store mouse and the common
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Rebecca Foster
Sep 29, 2014 Rebecca Foster rated it it was amazing
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
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
Jun 07, 2016 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
Sam Quixote
Sep 17, 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 24, 2012 Charlie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literazzi
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Nov 20, 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
Jan 15, 2012 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
Sep 09, 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 26, 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
Feb 22, 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
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
Apr 06, 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
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
Mar 19, 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
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
Michael Bohli
Aug 27, 2015 Michael Bohli rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
"When The Killing's Done" betrachtet den Umgang mit der Natur aus einer interessanten und sehr aktuellen Perspektive. Hin und her gerissen zwischen Meinungen und Lebensweisen müssen wir uns Überlegungen anstellen und alltägliche Handlungen wie Ernährung neu definieren

Prallen nun zwei konträre Denkensweisen aufeinander, bietet dies Potential für Konflikt. So will im Buch von T.C. Boyle eine Frau (Studierte, Karnivor, sympathisch) die Natur auf einer Inselgruppe retten in dem sie Invasoren ausrott
Betsy Ashton
I listened to the audio version of T.C. Boyle's When the Killing's Done, read by Anthony Heald. I'm glad I did, because I might not have finished reading it.

Boyle's unusual subject of killing invasive animals in the Channel Islands off the coast of California brings to light the controversy that rocked California years ago. A park service biologist pits herself against members of PETA and a fictitious group of animal rights advocates who want to stop the slaughter of feral pigs and rats. Straigh
Patti Ross
I am a genuine fan of Boyle's novels and short stories. With that said, when I started reading this novel, I was mildly disappointed. After the fast-paced opening with Beverly's shipwreck, it was downhill for me for the next few chapters. I likened it to those horrible passages we had to read for SAT reading comprehension. As my sister contended, Part II got better, and I ultimately was able to appreciate the conflict between the radical environmentalist Dave LaJoy and his more cautious nemesis, ...more
Mar 09, 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!
Steve lovell
Jul 21, 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
Sep 30, 2015 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.
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
Sep 04, 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
May 26, 2012 Nancy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
TC Boyle often chooses topics that are controversial and socially relevant. This is no exception. This story focuses on two opposing groups- both seeking THEIR greater good- animal rights versus what is best for the natural environment/ecosystem. Woven throughout both sides are personal flaws in their discordant thinking- and as a result, it would be difficult to accuse Boyle of pushing his own agenda. Alma is a biologist, seeking to rid a CA island of animals that do not belong there- that made ...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.” 12 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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