T.C. Boyle

Tuesday, April 14, 2015
8:00pm (Reception 6:30-7:30pm)

T.C. Boyle
in conversation with Susan Orlean

discussing the writing life and his novel
The Harder They Come

William Turner Gallery
Bergamot Station Arts Center
2525 Michigan Avenue,
Santa Monica, CA 90404

$20 General Admission
$30 Reserved Section Seats
$43 Includes Boyle’s book + Seats in reserved section
$95 Includes pre-event reception + Boyle’s book + Reserved Seats

We’re excited to be hosting T.C. Boyle presenting his 25th book, The Harder They Come.

Tom Coraghessan Boyle is a novelist and short story writer. Since the mid-1970s, he has published fourteen novels and more than 100 short stories. He won the PEN/Faulkner award in 1988, for his third novel, World’s End, and the Prix Médicis étranger (France) for The Tortilla Curtain in 1995. His stories have won accolades for their irony and black humor, for their verbal pyrotechnics, for their fascination with everything bizarre and queasy, and for the razor-sharp way in which they dissect America’s obsession with image and materialism. He is a Distinguished Professor of English at the University of Southern California.

With its roots in actual events, The Harder They Come is set in Northern California—a landscape that Boyle knows well. While vacationing in Costa Rica, seventy-year-old Sten Stensen kills a gun-wielding assailant and returns home a reluctant hero. There, he is reunited with his paranoid son, Adam. Though protected by his older, damaged lover, Sara—a right wing anarchist—Adam inevitably spirals out of control. After killing two people, he flees into the surrounding primeval woods. Sten, confronting his own legacy of violence, is powerless in taming his troubled son.

The Harder They Come was inspired by two stories reported in the news,” Boyle explains, “which provided the germ of the idea of examining the anti-authoritarianism and violence that are integral to our character (as indicated in the epigraph from D.H. Lawrence’s Studies in Classic American Literature: “The essential American soul is hard, isolate, stoic, and a killer. It has not yet melted.”) The first was the report of an elderly man attacked in Central America while on a tour with a busload of his coevals; the second was the case of a schizophrenic young man (a shooter) whose delusions caused him to murder two strangers and take to the wilderness around Fort Bragg, California, resulting in the biggest manhunt in California history. The research and writing, in toto, took just over a year and a half, and involved tramping the dense forests of the northern coast, in a location that reprises the setting of my second novel, Budding Prospects, which took place just up the road in Willits. While the earlier novel was comedic, taking an ironic (and zany) view of Lawrence’s proposition, The Harder They Come takes a darker, Faulknerian view.”

See video of T.C Boyle’s earlier appearances at Live Talks Los Angeles: discussing his novel San Miguel in 2012 and When the Killing’s Done in 2013.

Susan Orlean, the author of Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend and The Orchid Thief: A True Story of Beauty and Obsession, has been called “a kind of latter-day Tocqueville” (The New York Times Book Review). Orlean is fascinated by American stories of every stripe. From Rin Tin Tin, the orphaned German shepherd who became a silent film star in the 1920’s, to John Laroche, the convicted felon who slinks through the swamps of southern Florida looking for rare orchids, Orlean has an eye for the moving, the hilarious, and the surprising. She has written for The Boston Globe,VogueRolling StoneEsquireOutside, and The New Yorker, and has edited both Best American Essays and Best American Travel Writing. Orlean’s writing has inspired two films, includingAdaptation, the Academy Award-winning film directed by Spike Jonze and starring Meryl Streep. Orlean lectures on Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend, her encounters with extraordinary people, her experiences traveling the world, the value of ignorance, and women and the media.

T.C. Boyle in the news…at Live Talks LA on Sept 27…

We’re excited to have T.C. Boyle back at Live Talks Los Angeles.  We host Boyle at Track 16 at Bergamot Station in Santa Monica on Thursday, September 27th. We last hosted him in 2011, and here’s the video.  Hector Tobar reviews Boyle’s latest — his 14th novel — in the Los Angeles Times (September 16).  Here are come excerpts…

San Miguel Island is a real place, the westernmost of the Channel Islands off the coast of Southern California. In Boyle’s book, it’s a patch of earth beyond the end of the western frontier, a place where the mythical western ethos makes its last stand.

“Terra incognita,” one of his characters calls it. “Terra insolita … the last scrap of land the continent had to offer, an island tossed out in the ocean like an afterthought.”

“San Miguel” tells the story of the people who lived there in the final decade of the 19th century and the early decades of the 20th. They raise sheep, living an often-harsh existence amid seals, eagles and storms that sweep in from the Pacific.

…”San Miguel” is the prolific Boyle’s 14th novel. As always, he fills his pages with wonderfully precise character studies and lush descriptions of the physical landscape.

…For lovers of California literature especially, “San Miguel” will be a welcome addition to their reading lists

September 27 — An Evening with T.C. Boyle

Thursday, September 27, 2012
8:00pm (Reception 6:30-7:30pm)

An Evening with T.C. Boyle
discussing his new novel, San Miguel

Track 16 at Bergamot Station
2525 Michican Avenue, Bldg. C-1
Santa Monica, CA


$20, $40 includes Boyle’s book,
$34 signed book purchase only (shipping included to US destinations)
$95 includes the book + pre-event reception 

The inimitable and acclaimed writer returns to Live Talks LA with his newest and fourteenth novel, San Miguel 

See a book trailer for T.C. Boyle’s San Miguel.

Boyle’s latest, San Miguel is a soaring historical narrative about two families trying to start new lives on a windswept, near-desolate island just off the coast of southern California.  Publishers Weekly says, “Boyle’s epic saga of struggle, loss, and resilience tackles Pacific pioneer history with literary verve….”

Hear the prolific Boyle read from and discuss this latest book, along with his writing process, and his thoughts on living the literary life.

“Each day,” he says, “I try to enter another world and stay there until my mind gets fuzzy and I have to quit work till the next day.  In the interim, whether I’m sitting miles out in the Sierras with a book , doing yard work, cooking dinner or pouring a glass of wine, the artistic questions and choices of the story or novel stay with me until I can sit down again at the computer the following morning and move forward.”


* Proceeds from tickets to the reception support the upcoming Live Talks Los Angeles emerging voices/authors series of events that commence in 2013.

$20, $40 includes Boyle’s book,
$95 includes pre-event reception (6:00-7:00pm) plus book