A Friend of the EarthBook - 2000
T.C. Boyle's range as a novelist is breathtaking; he is the kind of writer who is always setting himself new challenges, who never ceases to astonish. In A Friend of the Earth, "America's most imaginative contemporary novelist" (Newsweek) blends idealism & satire in a story that addresses the ultimate questions of human love & the survival of the species. A Friend of the Earth opens in the year 2025, as Tyrone O'Shaughnessy Tierwater ekes out a bleak living in southern California, managing a rock star's private menagerie of the species "only a mother could love"--scruffy hyenas, jackals, warthogs, & three down-at-the-mouth lions. Global warming is a reality. The biosphere has collapsed in a grim but very funny way, & most of the major mammalian species--not to mention fish, birds, & frogs--are extinct. Once, as we see in alternating chapters that flash back to the last two decades of the twentieth century, Ty was so seriously committed to environmental causes that he became an ecoterrorist & convicted felon. As a member of the radical environmental group Earth Forever!, he unwittingly endangered both his daughter, Sierra, & his wife, Andrea. Now, when he's just trying to survive in a world torn by obdurate storms & winnowing drought, Andrea comes back into his life. What happens as the two slip into a reborn involvement makes for a gripping, topical, & ever-surprising story that is certain to stir readers' emotions. Gritty & surreal, frightening yet touching, A Friend of the Earth represents a high-water mark in Boyle's career--his deep streak of social concern is effortlessly blended here with real compassion for his characters & the spirit of sheer exhilarating playfulness readers have come to expect of his work.
Publisher: New York : Viking, 2000
Characteristics: 271 p. ; 24 cm