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Greasy Lake and Other Stories (Contemporary American Fiction) Paperback – May 6, 1986

4.5 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

As he portrays environmentalists, surrogate mothers and drug dealers, "Boyle proves himself in this second story collection truly a master of that genre. Wide-ranging in subject and variously comic, tragic, poignant and horrific, the stories are all compounds of imagination, vitality and scrupulous craft," judged PW.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

"Satirical fables of contemporary life, so funny and acutely observed that they might have been written by Evelyn Waugh as sketches for...'Saturday Night Live.' ...Indeed, the best of his stories not only make the reader see; they make the reader hear and smell and feel." --The New York Times
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Product Details

  • Series: Contemporary American Fiction
  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; New edition edition (May 6, 1986)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140077812
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140077810
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #777,030 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on May 5, 1997
Format: Paperback
Ever want to see Sherlock Holmes fall flat on his face? Or the longest baseball game in history? You can have all this in Greasy Lake. From the ridiculous to the sublime, from the "Beggar Master of Sivani-Hoota" to "The Hector Quesadilla Story", Boyle ranges through writing styles and emotion like a master. This is a book with a new twist around every bend, and Boyle's beautiful stories will leave you both rolling with laughter and a little disturbed at times, but always entertained
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Format: Paperback
What? You weren't aware that Eisenhower had a top-secret affair with Khrushchev's wife? Perhaps you need the vivid details of blues impresario Robert Johnson's death? And have you availed yourself of the former President's plan to snag two terms in the White House...by building a new moon? Yes, this lunacy and much more fun awaits in this file of T.C. Boyle short stories. These pieces, penned for a host of magazines (Antaeus, Antioch Review, Atlantic Monthly, Esquire, Iowa Review, Oui, Paris Review, TriQuarterly, and others,) were written earlier in Boyle's career, between 1979 and 1985. These are entertaining sketches of whimsical, off-beat protaganists and moments in time. An Elvis impersonator, a yuppie asparagus-crepe eater and his haunting rebel shadow, the survivalist who moves his family to Montana, a loyal Communist fighting to "hold public property sacred" in the cold Moscow winter...Boyle unfailingly delivers rare specimens in story after story.

"There was a time when courtesy and winning ways went out of style, when it was good to be bad, when you cultivated decadence like a taste. We were all dangerous characters then." These opening lines from the first story "Greasy Lake" could describe most all of the zany, complex characters who color these fifteen stories. A quick, entertaining read.
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Format: Paperback
If a writer of fiction can be believed, then T.C. Boyle's description of how he begins his writing routine is psycho crazy! According to him he cuts a chicken's throat, bleeds it into a bowl which he places under his desk, immerses his bare feet in the bowl and then writes until the blood feels cold. You certainly won't find this advice in any writer's how-to manual at your local library! If this is the price of new, fresh and contemporary fiction, then some might argue that a few chickens being sacrificed for art is worth the price. One of Boyle's gifts is that he is always interesting and truly original. How many contemporary authors can you really say that about today? Anyway, this collection is in my opinion one of his best. From the title story to a short sketch about the bluesman Robert Johnson, he keeps you on your toes from one short piece to the next. You never quite know what to expect with regard to Boyle's style. Another of his gifts is that he takes society's norms and conventions and manages to turn them upside down in a very entertaining fashion. With Boyle, you as the reader are always in on the joke. Many of his pieces despite their non-conventional nature have appeared in conservative men's magazines like GQ. Go figure....If you like to explore new authors, then you could hardly do better than picking up anything by this one. He is like a modern-day cross between Gogol and Kafka, but on some serious hallucinogens. If he and Dr. Hunter S. Thompson aren't friends, then they definitely should be. See for yourself why Boyle is one of the only exciting voices in contemporary fiction.
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By A Customer on June 25, 2002
Format: Paperback
there's a playfulness in this collection that I haven't seen anywhere else. the language and the plot are like being winked at -- Boyle lets you in on the joke and he trusts that his readers are as sly and smartass as he is.
most people were probably introduced to Boyle in high school English with the title story, "Greasy Lake," and if, like my entire class, that was your favorite story all year long, you won't be disapointed. these other stories are just as accessible, bleak and funny in the coen-brothers way that only Boyle delivers.
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Format: Paperback
unforgetable characters, thrilling plot, shocking humor, and a richly involving, rewarding reading experience where I cringed, and encouraged as if I were shouting at a movie screen. This book totally rules, because the author is so fearless. TCB tackles issues and characters without flinching, and he really takes care of his readers. Fast-paced, and with a stunning prose-style, this guy can do no wrong.
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Format: Paperback
I was turned onto this book of short stories by a friend who highly recommended the title story. It wasn't my favorite in the collection, but still a very entertaining tale about greasers and the image they struggle to maintain. One of my favorites was "Ike and Nina," which sent me scrambling to the Internet to find out if this historic couple really had a clandestine affair. The New Moon Party, Whales Weep, Not a Leg to Stand On, The Overcoat II, all have great characters and story lines to back up their interesting title. There is no narrow theme connecting the stories, except the overall concept of the angst of our generations and the social conflicts we all face. From the "good to be bad boys" of the title story, to the Cold War fear of "On for the Long Haul," to the problems of old age represented by "The Hector Quesadilla Story," which is about an excessively aging major league baseball player, these stories touch on many aspects of our current conditions. In fact, I did not find any one of the stories to be less than wonderful and I shall search for more short story collections by T.C.
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