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That sense of urgency comes through clearly in the stunning title story, which stands out as one of the best short stories of the decade. The long, multi-part story could easily be considered a novella on par with Herman Melville’s Billy Budd or Bartleby, the Scrivener. Boyle’s fictional tale describes in vivid detail the true story of Victor, the Wild Boy of Aveyron, who was discovered living in the woods in France in 1797. Boyle imagines what the boy’s life must have been like and the Herculean efforts of Dr. Jean-Marc Gaspard itard to assimilate Victor back into society. Like itard, Boyle approaches his subject with a clinical yet tender eye. Boyle manages to be sensitive towards his characters without being sentimental.
Boyle displays this same unsentimental sensitivity in the other stories of Wild Child, showcasing his uncanny ability to paint portraits so real, the imaginary characters and sometimes far-fetched scenarios feel completely plausible. Other stories that stand out in this stellar collection include “La Concita”, about one man’s heroic efforts to deliver a donated liver to a hospital; “Sin Dolor”, about a Mexican child who feels no pain; and “Admiral”, about a couple’s efforts to perfectly recreate the same environment for their cloned dog, right down to hiring the same woman to dog-sit the new animal. Humorous, insightful, nostalgic, slightly absurd these 14 stories illustrate Boyle at his best. Ken Ross
The 14 stories gathered here display both Boyle's astonishing range and his imaginative muscle. Nature is the dominant player in many of these stories, whether in the form of the catastrophic mudslide that allows a cynic to reclaim his own humanity ("La Conchita") or the wind-driven fires that howl through a high California canyon ("Ash Monday"). Other tales range from the drama of a man who spins Homeric lies in order to stop going to work, to that of a young woman who must babysit for a $250,000 cloned Afghan and the sad comedy of a child born to Mexican street vendors who is unable to feel pain. Brilliant, incisive, and always entertaining, Boyle's short stories showcase the mischievous humor and socially conscious sensibility that have made him one of the most acclaimed writers of our time.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Rebecca on 12-14-12
Not sure which way to tip the scale...
Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?
Listening to a well written novel is never a waste of time. Some stories were more interesting than others but you can't deny Boyle is an artist with words.
Who was your favorite character and why?
The gentleman from "The Lie" was by far my favorite character. Everyone wants to escape but very few of us have the balls or ability to try, lol. His childish antics were morbid yet hilarious.
What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?
I found the narrator well suited to these stories. There were a few times where I felt confused because the transition from story to story was too abrupt. I think the pause between them should have been longer.
Could you see Wild Child being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?
I could definitely see the one story "Wild Child" being turned into a movie ;)
Any additional comments?
This isn't an easy read. Many of the stories end when you least expect them to. I found myself wanting more and feeling somewhat depressed. A lot of time is spent on everyday activities with very little embellishment or luxury. These stories are raw and realistic so don't read them if you're looking for a feel good novel. I appreciate an author who can evoke emotions from their readers and thoroughly enjoyed this book.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
By Anna Rickey Montanez on 01-14-13
Couldn't get into it...
What disappointed you about Wild Child?
Because I loved his other books, especially Drop City
What could T. C. Boyle have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?
I guess it isn't the fault of the author. I have a harder time with short stories. I usually love series or really LONG novels with articulately drawn characters.
What didn’t you like about T. C. Boyle’s performance?
Most of the time I prefer when the author does not read their own story. Very few authors can do that, and see their work with fresh eyes.
What character would you cut from Wild Child?
Didn't get that far...
Any additional comments?
1 of 1 people found this review helpful