There’s a new man in my life. I have a literary crush on T.C. Boyle*.
I picked up a copy of After the Plague when I was browsing Judd Books the one evening I spent in London recently. I loved The Road to Wellville, read and re-read many moons ago (my copy is now missing — oh, where are you, amazing book?), and I recently read and adored The Tortilla Curtain. So finding a bargain copy of another T.C. Boyle is, well, a bargain.
I’m not a reader of short stories, I find them on the whole unsatisfying, like eating a rice cake when you could be having a sausage roll, if you get my meaning. But the way this man has with words, oh my! The Love of My Life has got to be one of the most heartbreaking stories I’ve ever read — the pain of love found and love lost almost made me cry (but I kept a hold of myself, I was on a train and it would’ve looked weird to start tearing up on the London-Glasgow route).
No story in there is ho-hum. For reasons unknown, The Love of My Life is the one I found most memorable (no, nothing like that has ever happened to me), but they were all brilliant, and I devoured that book in a couple of hours. If you’re a reader of short stories and you haven’t experienced the pure, unadulterated genius that is T.C. Boyle, go out now and buy one of his books. You won’t regret it.
* Given my other literary crush on Neal Stephenson, I may have an unacknowledged thing for weird-looking authors with big beards.