The Monday Book: THE HARDER THEY COME by TC Boyle

the harderThis week’s Monday Book comes from Paul Garrett.

When Sara, a part time substitute teacher and full-time anarchist, picks up a bedraggled hitchhiker near Willits, in northern California, she soon realizes his name is Adam and he is one of her former students.  Or no; not just a former student but the ne’er do well son of the principle of the school at which she taught.

She recruits him as a co-conspirator in a scheme to break in to the local humane society and “rescue” her dog which was impounded after biting a police officer during a traffic stop that went south after she informed the policeman that she was insusceptible to the laws of the state of California and the nation.

Though she is several years his senior (at one point a friend calls her a cougar, and she doesn’t deny it), they begin an affair, bound together by their mutual hatred of authority. The book unfolds in a kind of dance between Sara, Adam and, Stenson, Adam’s father, a troubled Vietnam vet, as Adam spins further and further into madness pulling the other two with him and eventually making Sara an unwilling accomplice in his own, much more sinister crime wave.

This happens against the backdrop of the beautiful but threatened landscape of Northern California’s Mendocino County

Anyone who has had a child with emotional difficulties can empathize with Stenson as he helplessly watches his son fall away into mental oblivion, all his efforts to save his son having been ineffectual.  Sara is hopelessly in love with the boy, and, though she tries to turn a blind eye to his lunacy, she must eventually face it head on.

The Harder They Come (Harper-Collins, 2015) is T. Coraghessan Boyle’s fifteenth novel and it is easy to see why he has won several awards for his previous work. Boyle is a pro.  His prose is right on target, making the characters come alive with all their strengths and weaknesses, assets and imperfections. He has a superlative eye for detail to the point that he sometimes gets lost in the minutia of a scene, as if he enjoys living in a state where recreational marijuana use is legal. His sardonic wit infuses his books with both absurdity and anguish and provides an exposition about the consequences of our decisions, both good and bad.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Harder They Come

A Review

 

When Sara, a part time substitute teacher and full-time anarchist, picks up a bedraggled hitchhiker near Willits, in northern California, she soon realizes his name is Adam and he is one of her former students.  Or no; not just a former student but the ne’er do well son of the principle of the school at which she taught.

She recruits him as a co-conspirator in a scheme to break in to the local humane society and “rescue” her dog which was impounded after biting a police officer during a traffic stop that went south after she informed the policeman that she was insusceptible to the laws of the state of California and the nation.

Though she is several years his senior (at one point a friend calls her a cougar, and she doesn’t deny it), they begin an affair, bound together by their mutual hatred of authority. The book unfolds in a kind of dance between Sara, Adam and, Stenson, Adam’s father, a troubled Vietnam vet, as Adam spins further and further into madness pulling the other two with him and eventually making Sara an unwilling accomplice in his own, much more sinister crime wave.

This happens against the backdrop of the beautiful but threatened landscape of Northern California’s Mendocino County

Anyone who has had a child with emotional difficulties can empathize with Stenson as he helplessly watches his son fall away into mental oblivion, all his efforts to save his son having been ineffectual.  Sara is hopelessly in love with the boy, and, though she tries to turn a blind eye to his lunacy, she must eventually face it head on.

The Harder They Come (Harper-Collins, 2015) is T. Coraghessan Boyle’s fifteenth novel and it is easy to see why he has won several awards for his previous work. Boyle is a pro.  His prose is right on target, making the characters come alive with all their strengths and weaknesses, assets and imperfections. He has a superlative eye for detail to the point that he sometimes gets lost in the minutia of a scene, as if he enjoys living in a state where recreational marijuana use is legal. His sardonic wit infuses his books with both absurdity and anguish and provides an exposition about the consequences of our decisions, both good and bad.

 

#

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Harder They Come

A Review

 

When Sara, a part time substitute teacher and full-time anarchist, picks up a bedraggled hitchhiker near Willits, in northern California, she soon realizes his name is Adam and he is one of her former students.  Or no; not just a former student but the ne’er do well son of the principle of the school at which she taught.

She recruits him as a co-conspirator in a scheme to break in to the local humane society and “rescue” her dog which was impounded after biting a police officer during a traffic stop that went south after she informed the policeman that she was insusceptible to the laws of the state of California and the nation.

Though she is several years his senior (at one point a friend calls her a cougar, and she doesn’t deny it), they begin an affair, bound together by their mutual hatred of authority. The book unfolds in a kind of dance between Sara, Adam and, Stenson, Adam’s father, a troubled Vietnam vet, as Adam spins further and further into madness pulling the other two with him and eventually making Sara an unwilling accomplice in his own, much more sinister crime wave.

This happens against the backdrop of the beautiful but threatened landscape of Northern California’s Mendocino County

Anyone who has had a child with emotional difficulties can empathize with Stenson as he helplessly watches his son fall away into mental oblivion, all his efforts to save his son having been ineffectual.  Sara is hopelessly in love with the boy, and, though she tries to turn a blind eye to his lunacy, she must eventually face it head on.

The Harder They Come (Harper-Collins, 2015) is T. Coraghessan Boyle’s fifteenth novel and it is easy to see why he has won several awards for his previous work. Boyle is a pro.  His prose is right on target, making the characters come alive with all their strengths and weaknesses, assets and imperfections. He has a superlative eye for detail to the point that he sometimes gets lost in the minutia of a scene, as if he enjoys living in a state where recreational marijuana use is legal. His sardonic wit infuses his books with both absurdity and anguish and provides an exposition about the consequences of our decisions, both good and bad.

 

#

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Harder They Come

A Review

 

When Sara, a part time substitute teacher and full-time anarchist, picks up a bedraggled hitchhiker near Willits, in northern California, she soon realizes his name is Adam and he is one of her former students.  Or no; not just a former student but the ne’er do well son of the principle of the school at which she taught.

She recruits him as a co-conspirator in a scheme to break in to the local humane society and “rescue” her dog which was impounded after biting a police officer during a traffic stop that went south after she informed the policeman that she was insusceptible to the laws of the state of California and the nation.

Though she is several years his senior (at one point a friend calls her a cougar, and she doesn’t deny it), they begin an affair, bound together by their mutual hatred of authority. The book unfolds in a kind of dance between Sara, Adam and, Stenson, Adam’s father, a troubled Vietnam vet, as Adam spins further and further into madness pulling the other two with him and eventually making Sara an unwilling accomplice in his own, much more sinister crime wave.

This happens against the backdrop of the beautiful but threatened landscape of Northern California’s Mendocino County

Anyone who has had a child with emotional difficulties can empathize with Stenson as he helplessly watches his son fall away into mental oblivion, all his efforts to save his son having been ineffectual.  Sara is hopelessly in love with the boy, and, though she tries to turn a blind eye to his lunacy, she must eventually face it head on.

The Harder They Come (Harper-Collins, 2015) is T. Coraghessan Boyle’s fifteenth novel and it is easy to see why he has won several awards for his previous work. Boyle is a pro.  His prose is right on target, making the characters come alive with all their strengths and weaknesses, assets and imperfections. He has a superlative eye for detail to the point that he sometimes gets lost in the minutia of a scene, as if he enjoys living in a state where recreational marijuana use is legal. His sardonic wit infuses his books with both absurdity and anguish and provides an exposition about the consequences of our decisions, both good and bad.

 

#

 

 

 

 

The Harder They Come

A Review

 

When Sara, a part time substitute teacher and full-time anarchist, picks up a bedraggled hitchhiker near Willits, in northern California, she soon realizes his name is Adam and he is one of her former students.  Or no; not just a former student but the ne’er do well son of the principle of the school at which she taught.

She recruits him as a co-conspirator in a scheme to break in to the local humane society and “rescue” her dog which was impounded after biting a police officer during a traffic stop that went south after she informed the policeman that she was insusceptible to the laws of the state of California and the nation.

Though she is several years his senior (at one point a friend calls her a cougar, and she doesn’t deny it), they begin an affair, bound together by their mutual hatred of authority. The book unfolds in a kind of dance between Sara, Adam and, Stenson, Adam’s father, a troubled Vietnam vet, as Adam spins further and further into madness pulling the other two with him and eventually making Sara an unwilling accomplice in his own, much more sinister crime wave.

This happens against the backdrop of the beautiful but threatened landscape of Northern California’s Mendocino County

Anyone who has had a child with emotional difficulties can empathize with Stenson as he helplessly watches his son fall away into mental oblivion, all his efforts to save his son having been ineffectual.  Sara is hopelessly in love with the boy, and, though she tries to turn a blind eye to his lunacy, she must eventually face it head on.

The Harder They Come (Harper-Collins, 2015) is T. Coraghessan Boyle’s fifteenth novel and it is easy to see why he has won several awards for his previous work. Boyle is a pro.  His prose is right on target, making the characters come alive with all their strengths and weaknesses, assets and imperfections. He has a superlative eye for detail to the point that he sometimes gets lost in the minutia of a scene, as if he enjoys living in a state where recreational marijuana use is legal. His sardonic wit infuses his books with both absurdity and anguish and provides an exposition about the consequences of our decisions, both good and bad.

 

#

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