T. Coraghessan Boyle, author of Water Music, a hilarious reinvention of the exploration of the Niger, returns to his native New York State with this darkly comic historical drama exploring several generations of families in the Hudson River Valley. Walter Van Brunt begins the book with a catastrophic motorcycle accident that sends him back on a historical investigation, eventually encompassing the frontier struggles of the late 1600s. Any book that opens with a three-page "list of principal characters" and includes chapters titled "The Last of the Kitchawanks," "The Dunderberg Imp," and "Hail, Arcadia!" promises a welcome tonic to the self-conscious inwardness of much contemporary fiction; World's End delivers and was rewarded with the PEN/Faulkner Award for 1988.
Boyle has been developing a growing reputation among lovers of rich comic writing for his handful of previous stories and novels. But World's End is one of those dramatic leaps forward that show an accomplished writer ambitiously and successfully lengthening his stride. It could easily be called a multigenerational saga, but that would give no idea of the depth of social and historical perspective Boyle brings to his tale. Set in the spectacular Hudson Valley country, an hour north of New York, World's End has all the elements of magic, fable, legend, and a sense of weather and landscape one more often finds in Southern writers. But it also shows a remarkable grasp of the continuity of culture over more than 300 years, effortlessly linking the stories of early Dutch settlers in the valley, the Indians they displaced and their descendants in the McCarthyite late 1940s and wild 1960s. The story, which moves with exceptional and convincing ease across the generations, is of the linked fates of the Van Brunt and Van Wart families. These have come down in modern times to Walter Van Brunt, a dreamer addled by drink and dope who loses both feet in motorbike accidents and who is haunted by figures and voices from the past, and Depeyster Van Wart, deeply conservative manufacturer and landowner, hanging on desperately to ancestral memories in a world he despises. Boyle is totally attuned to changing mores over the centuries, and broad enough in his sympathies to identify with the best in both conservative and rebel. Many of the book's central issues of loyalties and betrayal come to a head in a e riveting passage built on the Peekskill riots of 1949, in which leftists trying to attend a concert at which Paul Robeson was to sing were attacked by embittered locals inflamed by the presence of "niggers and kikes." Boyle, a native of the area, is so deeply steeped in its history that he can absorb a real incident and transform it organically into a horrifying episode in a novel. World's End is a triumph; resonant, richly imagined and written with unfailing eloquence. BOMC Alternate.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
This is the first TC Boyle book I've read and I was not disappointed. A great story, particularly for someone like me who grew up in the Hudson Valley and knows the setting like... Read morePublished 15 days ago by T. J. Eaton
Great read. . .can't believe the author did his graduate work at University of Iowa. . . he's so Berkeley :>)Published 1 month ago by Ann L. Mitchell
It was all over the place. I did not read the whole book, I just couldn't. I do not like it. I gave it to my sister since she wanted to read it. Read morePublished 1 month ago by laurie1972pahs
My reading of this book was deeply marred by the horrendous number of typos on almost every page. I don't know if I'll be throwing away my money on any further ebooks. Read morePublished 2 months ago by H. Blumberg-McKee
After reading and falling in love with other works by T.C. Boyle (most recently the collection of stories titled Wild Child), I was truly disappointed by World's End. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Shane A.
I love history and enjoyed this historical fiction very much. very interesting. timely and relevant. i recognized the pete seeger character and he just died.Published 14 months ago by Judith
Witless characters do stupid things because . . . the land is CURSED! Oh, please. This convoluted mess is full of mindless people you won't care about, with a plot that never... Read morePublished 15 months ago by John Forbes
By the time the Walter Van Brunt got to Alaska, my tear ducts had run dry from laughter. Interstellar black humor permeates this gem. Boyle is a grand virtuoso.Published 16 months ago by Mark Hammond