Magazine October 18, 2021, Issue

T. C. Boyle’s New Novel Is a Tragic-Absurd Assault on ‘Humanity’

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Talk to Me: A Novel, by T. C. Boyle (Ecco, 352 pp., $27.99).

Roughly 40 years ago in Pasadena, in an apartment court dating from the Ray­mond Chandler era, I heard T. C. Boyle read his story “Ike and Nina,” purporting to give a former staffer’s account of an improbable attraction between President Eisenhower and the wife of Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev. He was T. Coraghessan Boyle in those early days, a theatrical figure with a name to match; I’d been reading him since his first stories appeared in little magazines. Some writers are good readers of their own fiction; more are not. Boyle is one of the best I’ve ever heard, not

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This article appears as “All Too Human” in the October 18, 2021, print edition of National Review.

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