Riven Rock

I’m slowly making my way through a Sherlock Holmes omnibus (after watching the film, which was terribly fun), and since I took out a bunch of library books that are due back on 20 January, I thought I’d start with T.C. Boyle’s Riven Rock.

Riven RockT.C. Boyle — what a storyteller! This is the story of three people: Stanley McCormick, his wife Katherine, and Stanley’s nurse, Eddie O’Kane. Stanley needs a nurse because he’s had a breakdown, and his wife Katherine clings to the hope that he will recover and return to her side. In the meantime, Stanley is confined to one of his (very wealthy) family’s homes in California, known as Riven Rock.

There is definitely a comparison to be made to F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Tender is the Night. It, too, goes forward and backwards in time as we witness Stanley’s descent into madness. It’s set during the turn of the century (the 20th). Its main characters (with the exception of Eddie) are wealthy and pretty louche.

Since I’ve made my feelings about Tender is the Night pretty clear, you’ll know that I prefer Boyle’s version of love, lust and insanity infinitely more than Fitzgerald’s.