T.C. Boyle, author of The Road to Wellville
T. C. Boyle has been a favorite author of mine since I read his book Drop City, about hippies that move to Alaska to live off the land, only to have nature squash their idealism. The book is hysterical. T.C. Boyle finds a way to lampoon his naive characters while still folding in a love for them. The effect from the reader’s standpoint is sort of like the feeling you get when your opinionated father spouts off about something political and contrary to your beliefs. You shake your head, but you want him to tell you more because it’s so entertaining.
T.C. Boyle is also very good creating a fictional world around real people. For instance, his book The Women revolves is a fictional account of Frank Lloyd Wright from the perspective of his four wives. Here’s an excerpt from my Goodreads reviews:
The title references an entire gender, but more specifically it refers to Frank Lloyd Wright’s four wives/mistresses. While Mamah Borthwick is probably the most famous of FLW’s harem for having been murdered by a servant, Olgivanna, Miriam and Kitty’s voices provide a subtler perspective into an American icon. T.C. Boyle’s writing is markedly restrained in this novel; tight, unadorned, focused (much like Wright’s architecture). He uses the narrator, a Japanese apprentice, well to explain why fledgling architects wanted to remain the assistant of a proven deadbeat, media whore, and egomaniac. The apprentices were consistently socially oppressed by the Wright family, even while Frank’s sexual meanderings were splashed across every newspaper of the time. The conclusion of the novel wraps up nicely, ending at the beginning and letting each of Frank’s amours segue into the woman before her.
My other favorite books by him are The Road To Wellville, Riven Rock, and Tortilla Curtain.