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After the Plague

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3.84  ·  Rating details ·  1,268 Ratings  ·  124 Reviews
A collection of short stories that veer from the psychological to the slapstick, and from surrealism to satire.
Unknown Binding, 303 pages
Published October 22nd 2001 by Not Avail (first published August 22nd 2001)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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RandomAnthony
This past Saturday night I was reading “My Widow”, a story in TC Boyle’s After the Plague, just before bed. My wife was reading across the room and two of my three sons were asleep in the next room (the oldest was blowing shit up on the beach with one of his friends). Wind blew in through the skylights and I considered turning on the air conditioner. Earlier Ross and I sat in the dark living room watching the Brewers game and drinking Red Stripes. I had to ask myself, “why am I reading one of th ...more
Broshar
Nov 27, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another in the writing school of a slow poke in the eye with a sharp stick. Each story starts with some sort of emotional car wreck about to happen, and the story slows down to rubberneck the uncomfortable denouement. Boyle's characters seem to start out as likeable sorts, all with a tiny flaw or two that gets exposed through the run of events. Will they prevail over the challenge, or will their foibles get the better of them? And do I have to watch?

Argh. I do.

Kudos to him for putting "After t
...more
Robbin
Aug 09, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: you
T.C. Boyle has to be my favorite author. I just read this book of short stories while riding the subway to and from work. Heartbreakingly beautiful. He doesn't hold back. Characters in his stories express the urges we don't want to admit to having.

And even though they are short stories you get the sense of a person's whole lifetime in each short snapshot. I'm in love with Boyle for the very fact that he would break my heart.
Jeremy
A good writer who desperately wants you to know just how good he is, and how many big words he knows. This type of thing tends to distract one from his considerable storytelling skills. I did learn from this book that the word "sere" means "dry", allowing me to proclaim, as a hilarious, highbrow, and technically inaccurate joke, that I need to put the clothes in the serer for a few more minutes. "Sere" has also helped me with Boggle. Otherwise, this is a hit or miss collection with a few stories ...more
Kipahni
The narrator of this book made every story sound angery and annoyed so this may have been the reason my view of the stories are so negetive.

It wasn't that they were anticlimactic it's just that he ends it right at the climactic moment it gives the disappointment like the moment before a sneeze and yet the sneeze never comes.

After every story I feel like saying "and then..."
Alger
Jan 30, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Granted, T.C. Boyle is a damn fine author. What I discovered in this collection though is a writer who is fluid and on message delivering some incredibly nasty tasting stories.
What is it about Boyle, short fiction, and abusive relationships? His longer form fiction often has dysfunctional relationships, broken relationships, and a few happy couples, but this collection is packed with rapes and drunks and drugs and sudden violence that stands in for narrative, motive, and character.
I really real
...more
Melanie
Feb 11, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not a big fan of short stories; however, I enjoyed reading almost all of these.
Jo Everett
Jun 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful collection of varied short stories. Boyle is masterful in setting the scene, drawing the reader into the central characters by effectively utilising the narrative perspective, and leaving the reader wanting more.

I enjoyed each story, and it didn't take long to get into the narrative frame of reference. I would recommend this book for those who want something intellectual, who enjoy realist narratives, and emotive character-driven pieces.
Gardar Arnason
This is a collection of very enjoyable short stories.
Linda
May 10, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I prefer stories with a little more definitive ending.
Pamela
May 20, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
While the stories take place in a wide variety of settings and situations, they still hit a lot of similar notes--protagonists made helpless by their own inaction and/or laziness.
Ashlie
Mar 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
I have been a fan of T.C. Boyle for the past few years. I first read "Tortilla Curtain" in 2011, and followed that up a few years later with "Drop City." Boyle has a distinctive voice, cutting and dour, but also reflective. His examination of topics through, and he tackles tough subjects and places characters into situations of existential crisis with almost a relish. His books cover hard topics and hardened people, often in hopeless situations, but his writing forgives him for taking you down s ...more
Jennifer
Feb 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the best collections of short stories I've read. Darkly humorous, cynical, and absurdly humanistic.
Margot
Feb 27, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A somewhat bombastic collection of character sketches and scenes of said characters making (mostly) terrible decisions of one type or another. Boyle comes highly recommended from a couple of my coworkers, and I'll definitely be reading more!

A few samples:

"She didn't have to be at work till twelve the next day--she was an assistant to the reference librarian at the university library, and her schedule was so flexible it was all but bent over double." (71)

"He was no longer a freshman at Brown, not
...more
Craig
Apr 25, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
My first foray into Boyle-land and I don't think I will return. Some of the stories, especially those in the second half were good stories(saving it from a one-star rating), but what bothered me throughout the entire collection is the misogynistic tendencies of the author. Maybe I should read more from the author before I make the claim, but if this were the only text to go by, I would assume that T.C. Boyle absolutely hates women. (and literary theorists, but that's another tale altogether...) ...more
Moore
Nov 11, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
I'm a big TCBoyle fan, I recommend him to people and really hope they will try him out. Both Drop City and The Tortilla Curtain are books that stay with you over time, and even though I know so little about the US, I feel as though I have been told a certain truth, about a time and an attitude, by both novels.

There are moments in all these stories of that fierce and funny lucidity, a crisp summing up of sometimes apocalyptic moments, that should make the book un outdo enable. But weirdly, somet
...more
Karschtl
Dies ist eine weitere Sammlung von Kurzgeschichten von dem bekannten amerikanischen Autor T.C. Boyle. Ich habe es gelesen, weil ich eine dieser Geschichten für einen Literatur-Kurs an der Uni analysiere.

In den meisten dieser Short Stories dreht es sich um geschiedene Alkoholiker, oft Männer aber auch Frauen. Loser auf jeden Fall. Und entweder passiert ein Einbruch oder ein Mord. Oder beides. Auch die Themen ungewollte Schwangerschaft, überbevölkerte Welt und Abtreibung werden in mehreren dieser
...more
Kendall
Mostly grim stories. That's really the only way I can describe it. If they weren't written so well (most of them- anyway) I wouldn't have bothered. Realities a big enough drag these days- I don't need fiction to reiterate it for me. I suppose you'd call some of these a gritty look at modern day issues. I don't know- they were just a bummer for the most part. Pretty good writing and story telling though. Well- truth be told- the writing got on my nerves at times. He gets a little flowery in his d ...more
Leigh
A book full of strong, engaging stories. But far and away the best, I think--and this surprised me, coming from such a master of the fantastic as Boyle--is the very simple, normal, and human "The Love of My Life." It ends with a rhapsodic, Gatsby-esque passage about young love, tempered with the knowledge of all the loss to come... which, thanks to the story's beautiful structure, has already been narrated.

And when they got to where they were going, at the end of that dark lane overhung with tre
...more
Felicia A
I wanted to love this....I loved Drop City, which was the first book I read by this author. I am not loving it. 1) it's a collection of short stories, which I didn't know, and which I hate and 2) it's no Drop City. But I am pressing on...

Update 3/21. Putting it aside. Rhiannon Frater's sequel to As the World Dies just came in the mail from Amazon. Woo HOO!

Update 5/24. I did not love this. I hate collections of short stories, and these made no sense. I did so love Drop City and was impressed with
...more
Wendy Joyce
Sep 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
TC Boyle is the finest writer on this planet. The only problem I have in reading his novels and short stories is the envy they incite within my psyche; dang, I wish I had a thimble of Boyle's talent--his imagery, his pacing, his deliberateness...his everything! After the Plague: and Other Stories contains 16 stories, and as typical of Boyle, not a bad apple in the bunch. Nope. Each story a ripe peach that transports you into the scene and into the minds of his characters, for better or for worse ...more
Sundry
Boyle’s a wonderful storyteller. You can actually relate most of the plots after you’ve read them. He’s great at making you believe that a character thinks the crazy thing he’s doing makes sense or needs to be done.

I began to tire of the cynical nature of the stories about 2/3 of the way through, but kept listening. I think part of it was the direction that the reader was given. I suspect that his relentlessly angry delivery doesn’t do justice to Boyle’s prose. The reader seemed to be playing th
...more
Michael Ronn
I'm a fan of T.C. Boyle. His original Stories collection is one of my favorites. I liked a lot of those stories. But the stories in this collection are poor at best. They're full of narrative dumping, the characters aren't memorable, and the writing, while not "ostentatious" as one reader described, does try too hard. I was really disappointed by this collection, and I really wanted to like it. I'm giving this two stars only because I still really like Boyle. Hopefully his future collections are ...more
Angelo John Lewis
This is my first exposure to T. C. Boyle. He is astonishingly good, with a flair for both characterization and painting details. He has a real feel for the short story form and I look forward to reading more of his work. Some people feel that his work is too dark, but I for one don't have a problem with "dark." One can however fairly say there is an element of predictability to all of these stories. Something eventually is going to go wrong, very wrong. This doesn't detract from the pleasure of ...more
Emily
Jan 31, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I was excited to read this book because I am a fan of short stories and also I heard that it would challenge my way of thinking; I'm always up for a challenge. I was disappointed, however after reading the first 4 stories. They never got better; never a 'happy ending'. Yes, it challenged my thinking, but not in a way I liked. Maybe it suited it's purpose but it's not one I would reccommend at all. I also quit reading it after the fourth story. I just didn't want to walk away from that book with ...more
Abe Brennan
May 17, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
T. C. Boyle, in a collection of sixteen short stories, renders an eclectic batch of antagonists through a masterful manipulation of voice and figurative language. From the good-hearted but delusional and dangerous Alaskan publican of “Termination Dust” to the enervated-school-teacher-turned-unlikely-heroine of “Friendly Skies,” Mr. Boyle peoples his stories with ordinary and believable characters and leverages them into extraordinary and perverse situations. The result? Violent, ironic, pathos-l ...more
Angie
I'm a fan of Boyle, but sometimes I can't remember why. His characters are so misogynistic, particularly in this collection. His stories tend to be better when the main character is a man, when few women are included, and he just runs with his own tendency to have solitary misanthropic men as the only developed characters. I just wonder, based on this book and If the River Was Whiskey, how many stories one man can write about a drunk loner woodsman who does terrible things to women while it's co ...more
Lianna
Jan 29, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
As far as short stories go, this book is pretty solid. Unfortunately, this book taught me that I don't like short stories.

To be impactful in 10 pages there always has to be a shocking twist at the end that makes you think. Knowing this, reading the first 9 pages is like watching a bad horror movie at the point where the teens' car breaks down. You know they're headed toward something but you don't know whether it'll be an indian burial ground, haunted mansion or monster-infested cave.

Minus one
...more
Megan
Apr 13, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I looked forward to this book, since I have enjoyed two others by TC Boyle, and was very disappointed. With many of the stories I simply felt that he thought of the most horribly ironic, or just plain horrible thing that could happen, and wrote that as the end of the story. I've always gotten along well with his quirky plots and sick sense of humor. Not so with this book. The only reason I gave it two stars instead of one was his skill writing prose - I can't give one star to a good writer.
Frederick Bingham
Short stories by TC Boyle. The most memorable one has the same name as the title. It is about a guy who is out on a jaunt in the woods when the earth is visited by a deadly plague that kills off pretty much everyone. He meets one other person in the woods, a woman, and they head back to civilization to try to start a new life.Another story is called "My Widow". It is narrated by a guy who has died and is looking at the way his widow lives. She is old and increasingly frail and senile. She is ove ...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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