Join BookBrowse today and get access to free books, our twice monthly digital magazine, and more.

Reviews of Blue Skies by T.C. Boyle

Blue Skies

A Novel

by T.C. Boyle

Blue Skies by T.C. Boyle X
Blue Skies by T.C. Boyle
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    May 2023, 384 pages

    Paperback:
    May 21, 2024, 384 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Katharine Blatchford
Buy This Book

About this Book

Book Summary

From best-selling novelist T. C. Boyle, a satirical yet ultimately moving send-up of contemporary American life in the glare of climate change.

Denied a dog, a baby, and even a faithful fiancé, Cat suddenly craves a snake: a glistening, writhing creature that can be worn like "jewelry, living jewelry" to match her black jeans. But when the budding social media star promptly loses the young "Burmie" she buys from a local pet store, she inadvertently sets in motion a chain of increasingly dire and outrageous events that comes to threaten her very survival.

"Brilliantly imaginative ... in a terrifying way" (Annie Proulx), Blue Skies follows in the tradition of T. C. Boyle's finest novels, combining high-octane plotting with mordant wit and shrewd social commentary. Here Boyle, one of the most inventive voices in contemporary fiction, transports us to water-logged and heat-ravaged coastal America, where Cat and her hapless, nature-loving family—including her eco-warrior parents, Ottilie and Frank; her brother, Cooper, an entomologist; and her frat-boy-turned-husband, Todd—are struggling to adapt to the "new normal," in which once-in-a-lifetime natural disasters happen once a week and drinking seems to be the only way to cope.

But there's more than meets the eye to this compulsive family drama. Lurking beneath the banal façade of twenty-first-century Californians and Floridians attempting to preserve normalcy in the face of violent weather perturbations is a caricature of materialist American society that doubles as a prophetic warning about our planet's future. From pet bees and cricket-dependent diets to massive species die-off and pummeling hurricanes, Blue Skies deftly explores the often volatile relationships between humans and their habitats, in which "the only truism seems to be that things always get worse."

An eco-thriller with teeth, Boyle's Blue Skies is at once a tragicomic satire and a prescient novel that captures the absurdity and "inexpressible sadness at the heart of everything."

1
They Were Like Jewelry

They were like jewelry, living jewelry, and she could see herself wearing one wrapped round her shoulders to Bobo's or the Cornerstone and sitting at a sidewalk table while people strolled by and pretended not to notice. It would make a statement, that was for sure. She'd put on a tube top so you could see the contrast it made with her bare skin—black, definitely black, and she'd wear her black jeans too and maybe her fedora—and she'd just look down at her drink or up at Todd as if nothing were out of the ordinary. And he'd go along with it too, she was sure he would—they were in that phase of their relationship where he'd given her a ring and they'd moved in together and she could have just about anything she wanted.

Except a baby. Are you joking, or what? I'm no way even close to being ready for that, and plus the expense, Jesus. He wouldn't let her have a dog either—or even a cat. He was allergic. Hair. Dander. Fleas. And did...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

Despite the intensity of the events that take place, this is a book for readers more interested in exploring character than plot. Blue Skies is a family drama set against a backdrop of worldwide calamity. It is horrifying at times, at others darkly comedic. There were moments when I wanted to shout at the characters, and others I wished I could give them a hug. This is not a book for those looking for escapism—the characters, their problems and their failings often feel uncomfortably real. The ways in which they handle, or refuse to handle, the challenges they face serve as a warning just as potent on the personal level as the depiction of climate change is on the global...continued

Full Review Members Only (522 words)

(Reviewed by Katharine Blatchford).

Media Reviews

New York Times Book Review
Boyle writes with a youthful and sustained energy that parallels the zeal of his dreamers, and that ultimately attenuates their failures. There are few writers who seem more American.

Washington Post
Boyle's satire has lost none of its edge over the course of a nearly half-century literary career ... [Blue Skies is] an expert blend of suspense, terror and, occasionally, very black humor ... this fiercely honest writer shows us what he sees and invites his readers to draw their own conclusions.

Booklist (starred review)
Boyle, long a fervent proselytizer for environmental and animal rights, strikes the perfect satirical note to illustrate the nonchalance and obliviousness many otherwise intelligent people display…. Boyle's genius lies in his ability to blend the horrific and the humorous, to slowly ratchet up the tension while crafting a gripping yet eerie narrative that forecasts a disaster of our own making.

Publishers Weekly
Spirited... Boyle remains a vibrant stylist, with fondness for his complex characters and a knack for zany details... Equal parts entertaining and anxiety inducing, this dazzles.

Author Blurb Annie Proulx
Is climate change funny? Yes, in the brilliantly imaginative T. C. Boyle's hands, in a terrifying way. Blue Skies is both comic and wrenching... . A black arrow of unimaginable horror shoots through the novel's center, and Boyle leads us to contemplate the 'inexpressible sadness at the heart of everything'―and a morsel of the world's inexpressible beauty.

Reader Reviews

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book

Insects as Food

Close up picture of bright green cricket on a leafIn T.C. Boyle's Blue Skies, environmentally conscious Ottilie tries her hand at raising her own livestock—not chickens or pigs, but crickets. In Western society today, people often react with horror at the idea of eating insects, but there are advantages to including them in your diet. Many insects are an excellent source of important nutrients, including protein, fats and various vitamins. They are a more sustainable source of these nutrients than more commonly consumed animal products such as beef, pork and chicken, because they require less land and produce fewer pollutants for the same amount of food.

Our aversion to eating insects is cultural, not innate; roughly two billion people around the world regularly eat insects. ...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Read-Alikes

Read-Alikes Full readalike results are for members only

If you liked Blue Skies, try these:

  • The Last Animal jacket

    The Last Animal

    by Ramona Ausubel

    Published 2024

    About this book

    More by this author

    A playful, witty, and resonant novel in which a single mother and her two teen daughters engage in a wild scientific experiment and discover themselves in the process, from the award-winning writer of Sons and Daughters of Ease and Plenty

  • Once There Were Wolves jacket

    Once There Were Wolves

    by Charlotte McConaghy

    Published 2022

    About this book

    More by this author

    From the author of the beloved national bestseller Migrations, a pulse-pounding new novel set in the wild Scottish Highlands.

We have 4 read-alikes for Blue Skies, but non-members are limited to two results. To see the complete list of this book's read-alikes, you need to be a member.
More books by T.C. Boyle
Search read-alikes
How we choose read-alikes
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Join our inner reading circle, go ad-free and get way more!

Find out more


Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: The Demon of Unrest
    The Demon of Unrest
    by Erik Larson
    In the aftermath of the 1860 presidential election, the divided United States began to collapse as ...
  • Book Jacket: Daughters of Shandong
    Daughters of Shandong
    by Eve J. Chung
    Daughters of Shandong is the debut novel of Eve J. Chung, a human rights lawyer living in New York. ...
  • Book Jacket: Anita de Monte Laughs Last
    Anita de Monte Laughs Last
    by Xochitl Gonzalez
    Brooklyn-based novelist Xochitl Gonzalez is an inspiring writer to follow. At forty, she decided to ...
  • Book Jacket: Icarus
    Icarus
    by K. Ancrum
    The titular protagonist of K. Ancrum's young adult novel Icarus lives a double life that mixes the ...

BookBrowse Book Club

Book Jacket
Romantic Comedy
by Curtis Sittenfeld
A comedy writer's stance on love shifts when a pop star challenges her assumptions in this witty and touching novel.

Members Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    This Strange Eventful History
    by Claire Messud

    An immersive, masterful story of a family born on the wrong side of history.

  • Book Jacket

    Daughters of Shandong
    by Eve J. Chung

    Eve J. Chung's debut novel recounts a family's flight to Taiwan during China's Communist revolution.

Win This Book
Win Only the Brave

Only the Brave by Danielle Steel

A powerful, sweeping historical novel about a courageous woman in World War II Germany.

Enter

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

F T a T

and be entered to win..

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.