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Descent of Man Hardcover – February 1, 1979


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 219 pages
  • Publisher: Atlantic Little Brown; 1st edition (February 1979)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316104698
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316104692
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,656,599 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Depicting Lassie, Idi Amin, chimps and a Norse poet, "Boyle has X-ray vision when he considers the incongruities of the way we live and the things we do. He manages to find weak spots, capitalize on them, build from them wild and absurd stories that give a new dimension to black humor," observed PW .
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

T. C. Boyle is the author of eleven novels, including World's End (winner of the PEN/FaulknerAward), Drop City (a New York Times bestseller and finalist for the National Book Award), and The Inner Circle. His most recent story collections are Tooth and Claw and The Human Fly and Other Stories.

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

More About the Author

T. C. Boyle is the author of eleven novels, including World's End (winner of the PEN/FaulknerAward), Drop City (a New York Times bestseller and finalist for the National Book Award), and The Inner Circle. His most recent story collections are Tooth and Claw and The Human Fly and Other Stories.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By darragh o'donoghue on December 18, 2000
Format: Paperback
As with most first collections of short stories, 'Descent of Man' is pretty uneven. Too many stories feel like sketches for comedy shows, one joke spun out for pages. There are a few that are Kafka-lite, others a little too in love with the sound of their own voice; the last story, in its detached misogyny, leaves a nasty taste in the mouth.
This is still a highly entertaining book. Themes, subjects, charaters, motifs etc. recur, as the antiseptic, over-confident world of modern capitalism is blighted by beasts, nature, disasters: those things so alien to us we can never predict or destroy them, try as we might. This is an ugly re-vision of Darwin, evolution in reverse, survival of the sneakiest. The Boyle gallery of finks, thieves, perverts, latterday Josef Ks, cuckolds, killers, greed- and ambition-devouring monsters are not a pretty lot, but raise some delicious laughs.
There are some excellent pastiches here of Borges, Wells, Haggard etc., but, and perhaps this is the flaw, we're always reading Boyle. 'The Second Swimming' (about Mao's birthday celebrations), 'The Big Garage' (the mock-Kafka tale of a motorist's car breaking down) and 'The Extinction Tales' (an extraordinary catalogue of historical 'progress') at least are masterpieces. A fun way to enjoy the end of the world.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By shroomboy@888.nu on December 14, 2000
Format: Paperback
... This could be one of the best collections of short stories by an author I have ever read in my entire life. The title story is utterly brilliant and one of the most amusing. My favorite, HEART OF A CHAMPION, is the one I thought brought about the most internal laughter, the story of a boy and his collie. Other favorites, most of them more thought-provoking than ha-ha-worthy include THE SECOND SWIMMING, A WOMAN'S RESTAURANT, THE EXTINCTION TALES, and DROWNING. A strange thing I noticed: the stories seem to progress from funny to gloomy according to their appearance. I had originally planned to exchange this book with a friend once I was done, but when I had finished it I knew that I would want to read this again. Of all the emotions these stories force you to accept, disappointment isn't one of them.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 19, 1998
Format: Paperback
The scarcastic humor found in "Desent of Man" was remesiant of Kurt Vonnegut and Franz Kafka. I enjoyed how T. C. Boyle picked apart the over-inflacted egos of the Gifted. He had one burned alive for taking a photograph of God dead. The Nihilistic pleaseure of a collector going out on a limb to collect an ancient beer can and his discription of a Researchers sexual experements with apes impressed me. No other book had such a darkly scarcastic vain and yet was written with intellegence. I also liked the twists in his stories thay kept the book exciting and alive. Like Hitchcock you will never know what "nice" fate T. C. Boyle has in mind for his pompus characters.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 30, 1999
Format: Paperback
I think Descent of Man and Green Hell are two of the funniest short stories I have ever read. Either of these two are worth the price of the book.
You may want to read only a few stories at a time as they tend to get a little dark and depressing, but the two titles mentioned above are gems.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 29, 1999
Format: Paperback
You'll never forget reading this book. The story "Descent of Man" is one of the funniest things I have ever read. The rest are equally satisfying, although, not all funny. Some of the stories, while thought provoking, are somewhat gloomy. Still, those that are not in the comedic vein, "Drowning" and "The Extinction Tales" come to mind, are highly entertaining and not to be disregarded. As for the rest, "The Champ," "John Barleycorn Lives," "Quetzacoatl Lite" and etc. etc. are absolutely some of the most amusing stories I'v ever had the pleasure of stumbling across. Descent of Man rocks my world!!!!!
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By J. rudolph on May 19, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Boyle continues to create quality works time
after time, in fact, he tends to improve both the nature
of his tales and the precision of his usage of the mother
tongue.
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