When the Killing's Done: Book summary and reviews of When the Killing's Done by T.C. Boyle

When the Killing's Done

A Novel

by T.C. Boyle

When the Killing's Done by T.C. Boyle X
When the Killing's Done by T.C. Boyle
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  • Published Feb 2011
    384 pages
    Genre: Literary Fiction

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Book Summary

Principally set on the wild and sparsely inhabited Channel Islands off the coast of Santa Barbara, T.C. Boyle's powerful new novel combines pulse-pounding adventure with a socially conscious, richly humane tale regarding the dominion we attempt to exert, for better or worse, over the natural world. Alma Boyd Takesue is a National Park Service biologist who is spearheading the efforts to save the island's endangered native creatures from invasive species like rats and feral pigs, which, in her view, must be eliminated. Her antagonist, Dave LaJoy, is a dreadlocked local businessman who, along with his lover, the folksinger Anise Reed, is fiercely opposed to the killing of any species whatsoever and will go to any lengths to subvert the plans of Alma and her colleagues.

Their confrontation plays out in a series of escalating scenes in which these characters violently confront one another, and tempt the awesome destructive power of nature itself. Boyle deepens his story by going back in time to relate the harrowing tale of Alma's grandmother Beverly, who was the sole survivor of a 1946 shipwreck in the channel, as well as the tragic story of Anise's mother, Rita, who in the late 1970s lived and worked on a sheep ranch on Santa Cruz Island. In dramatizing this collision between protectors of the environment and animal rights' activists, Boyle is, in his characteristic fashion, examining one of the essential questions of our time: Who has the right of possession of the land, the waters, the very lives of all the creatures who share this planet with us? When the Killing's Done will offer no transparent answers, but like The Tortilla Curtain, Boyle's classic take on illegal immigration, it will touch you deeply and put you in a position to decide.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Narrative propulsion is laced with delicious irony in this winning novel." - Kirkus

"Starred Review. Boyle's animating conflict is tense and nuanced, and his sleek prose yields a tale that is complex, thought-provoking, and darkly funny..." - Publishers Weekly

"Starred Review. ...[Boyle] creates magnetic characters and high suspense, culminating in a piercing vision of our needy, confused, and destructive species thrashing about in the great web of life." - Booklist

"Whether we regard this work as environmental fiction or a philosophical treatise on land ethics, Boyle has delivered yet another quandary to ponder." - Library Journal

This information about When the Killing's Done was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

T.C. Boyle Author Biography

T.Coraghessan Boyle is the author of twenty-eight books of fiction, including, most recently, After the Plague (2001), Drop City (2003), The Inner Circle (2004), Tooth and Claw (2005), The Human Fly (2005), Talk Talk (2006), The Women (2009), Wild Child (2010), When the Killing's Done (2011), San Miguel (2012), T.C. Boyle Stories II (2013), The Harder They Come (2015), The Terranauts (2016), The Relive Box (2017) and Outside Looking In (2019). He received a Ph.D. degree in Nineteenth Century British Literature from the University of Iowa in 1977, his M.F.A. from the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop in 1974, and his B.A. in English and History from SUNY Potsdam in 1968. He has been a member of the English Department at the University of Southern California since 1978, where he is ...

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