My new book is When the Killing’s Done by T.C. Boyle. I really enjoy reading Boyle, it’s not just his stories (even though they are great) it’s the words; you can get lost in some of his sentences and eventually run out of breath before the final full stop. For example, here is Boyle telling of the wreck of the Beverly B. In the words of the narrator’s grandmother who was up to her ankles in water below deck in the galley of a sinking motor boat:
She wanted to warn them, wanted to betray the water in the galley so they could do something about it, so they could stop it, fix it, put things to right, but Warren was shouting, every vein standing out in his neck and the spray exploding over the stern behind him like the whipping tail of an underwater comet.
The boat sinks in the storm and the woman finds herself alone in the water:
Just as she was about to surrender, to open herself up, open wide and let the harsh insistent unforgiving current flow through her and tug her down to where the waves couldn’t touch her ever again, the ocean gave her something back: it was a chest, and ice chest floating low in the water under the weight of its burden.
The woman grabs hold of and clings to the ice chest. She and the chest, a sturdy Sears and Roebuck model, ride out the storm. She survives and months later gives birth to another survivor of the storm. Her son grows up, marries and gives birth to Alma, the narrator of this tale. DNA propagates in strange and curious ways.
I bought this novel today at the local Borders; the above story is told by Boyle in the first chapter. This new book is what they call a pBook. It seems that what we used to call a book is now a pBook to differentiate it from the ever-more-popular eBook. This particular book is a hardbound Viking edition designed by Francesca Belanger set in Minion Pro (which is very easy on the eyes). The book has simulated deckle-edged pages, which are easy to turn and a pleasure to the hand. You can’t say that about eBooks.
I like this particular Borders store, which is housed in an old theater where they showed Rocky Horror Show just before the theater shut for good. The theater sat empty and abandoned for many years until Borders showed up. I enjoy browsing the books there—maybe my purchase will help them stay in business.
Day 38: When the Killing’s Done (T.C. Boyle) (2011).