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The Human Fly and Other Stories Hardcover – Bargain Price, September 8, 2005

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Hardcover, Bargain Price, September 8, 2005
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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 9 Up–In this collection of previously published and new stories, Boyle delivers compelling tales of humor, compassion, and intrigue. In the title story, a washed-up talent agent finds his second wind representing Zoltan Mindszenty, aka La Mosca Humana, a frail, reticent daredevil seeking notoriety in the U.S. In The Champ, Angelo D. must defend his 37-year reign as champion eater. Newcomer Kid Gullet challenges his title, all the while hilariously dissing Angelo with his Mohammed Ali-like banter. Beat is a lyrical satire in which a young man travels to Long Island at Christmastime, 1957, to meet his idol, Jack Kerouac, in what becomes a true-to-form hedonistic weekend with the writer and his Beat colleagues. The Love of My Life is a heartbreaking story of two young lovers, who find their world shattered when China becomes pregnant, and the pair tries to deliver the baby themselves in a motel room. Other notable stories are Achates McNeil, in which a dead-beat novelist father visits his son's college as a guest speaker, and 56-0, a linebacker's desperate-but-witty attempt to find a life lesson in continuous defeat. Boyle's stories are short but often challenging in their nuances, and therefore are not recommended for reluctant readers. The collection will find its best audience among thoughtful older teens.–Jane Cronkhite, Cuyahoga County Public Library, OH
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From Booklist

Gr. 10-12. Like Joyce Carol Oates' Small Avalanches 2002), this collection brings together stories previously published for adults. Boyle's fiction is well-suited to older teens able to handle the sometimes raw, graphic subject matter. Many of the characters are young adults, and Boyle perfectly echoes an adolescent voice in unsparing, often hilarious observations (one college student notes that his middle-aged father's eyes appear to have been "sucked down . . . volcanoes of wrinkles"). There are absurd, satiric twists of reality (a hit man's permanent hood keeps him in constant shadow) and some shocking scenarios. In "Love of My Life," for example, two teens abandon their newborn baby in a dumpster. Teens may already know "Greasy Lake," a widely anthologized story of pranks and excess gone wrong, and students who have read George Orwell's essays will find contemporary parallels in "Almost Shooting an Elephant." Whether the characters are confronting sex with the wrong person, the desire for fame, or an egotistical parent, their uncomfortable, sharply authentic stories will speak directly to many readers. Gillian Engberg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Viking Juvenile (September 8, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670060542
  • ASIN: B005Q67ETS
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.7 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,914,109 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.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Teen Reads on November 17, 2005
Format: Paperback
New York Times bestselling author T.C. Boyle is known for his outrageous wit and cadenced writing style, with many of his sentences jumping off the page like lyrics to a jingle or the syrupy smooth notes to a song. His novels for adults (DROP CITY, THE TORTILLA CURTAIN and THE INNER CIRCLE, to name a few) and various short story collections (including TOOTH AND CLAW, AFTER THE PLAGUE and DESCENT OF MAN) have garnered much critical acclaim and amassed quite a cult following among the literati. Thankfully, the smattering of stories compiled over the last 25 years that make up THE HUMAN FLY AND OTHER STORIES are now available so that younger readers can go batty over Boyle's gift for storytelling just as much as adults do.

The stories in THE HUMAN FLY range from giggle-inducing outlandish to tear-jerking poignant. From a story about losing a football match ("56-0") to a glimpse into the life of a man who chases after fame by courting death doing daredevil stunts ("The Human Fly") to a record-setting tale of two men battling it out in gargantuan eat-a-thon contests (The Champ"), the choices in this collection offer a little something for everyone --- and every mood. Unlike other anthologies on the shelves, Boyle's stories are consistently enjoyable and well-written, with characters who snap to life as though they're sitting right next to you.

A few stories that stand out above the rest:

"The Fog Man" and "Beat" poke fun at adolescence, each in their own way --- suburban youth in "The Fog Man" and hipped-out counterculture in "Beat." Teens will especially like "Beat" for its Kerouacian feel and subject matter (the story is set in Jack's mom's house; William Burroughs, Neal Cassady and Allen Ginsberg all make their own riotous cameo appearances).
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By Holly A. Spinelli on December 26, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A reasonable selection of short stories. It's not my favorite collection, but the stories are intriguing. I have used a few for my 10th graders. They enjoyed them.
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