A Friend of the Earth
Title: A Friend of the Earth
Author: T. C. Boyle
A novel set in a grim near-future Southern California follows the adventures of an eco-terrorist whose efforts to save the planet unwittingly place his own family at risk.
The bestselling author of The Tortilla Curtain and Riven Rock takes a provocative new turn with a brilliant, timely, darkly funny novel about love, activism, and the future of the planet.
T. C. Boyle’s range as a novelist is breathtaking; he is the kind of writer who is always setting himself new challenges, who never ceases to astonish. In A Friend of the Earth, “America’s most imaginative contemporary novelist”(Newsweek) blends idealism and satire in a story that addresses the ultimate questions of human love and the survival of the species.
A Friend of the Earth opens in the year 2025, as Tyrone O’Shaughnessy Tierwater ekes out a bleak living in southern California, managing a rock star’s private menagerie of the species “only a mother could love” — scruffy hyenas, jackals, warthogs, and three down-at-the-mouth lions. Global warming is a reality. The biosphere has collapsed in a grim but very funny way, and most of the major mammalian species — not to mention fish, birds, and frogs — are extinct. Once, as we see in alternating chapters that flash back to the last two decades of the twentieth century, Ty was so seriously committed to environmental causes that he became an ecoterrorist and convicted felon. A member of the radical environmental group Earth Forever!, he unwittingly endangered both his daughter, Sierra, and his wife, Andrea. Now, when he’s just trying to survive in a world torn by obdurate storms and winnowing drought, Andrea comes back into his life. What happens as the two slip into a reborn involvement makes for a gripping, topical, and ever-surprising story that is certain to stir readers’ emotions.
Gritty and surreal, frightening yet touching, A Friend of the Earth represents a high-water mark in Boyle’s career — his deep streak of social concern is effortlessly blended here with real compassion for his characters and the spirit of sheer exhilarating playfulness readers have come to expect of his work.