Large Print Reviews

After the Plague and Other Stories
By T. Coraghessan Boyle
Read by Scott Brick

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After the Plague and Other Stories
After the Plague and Other Stories
By T. Coraghessan Boyle
Read by Scott Brick
Books on Tape, (2001)
An Unabridged Audio Recording
Book Number 5738 - 9 Cassettes
ISBN: 0-7366-7631-7
Genre: Fiction, Short Stories
Other editions: Standard Print (Paperback) | Standard Print (Hardcover)

Reviewed by Rochelle Caviness - November 24, 2001

If I could only select one word to describe T. Coraghessan Boyle's short stories, it would be sagacity. This quality is aptly illustrated in the sixteen short stories contained in After the Plague and Other Stories, Boyle's sixth collection of short stories. Although I do not normally enjoy short stories, I was strangely drawn to these varied and intriguing stories. All can be classed, in one manner of another, as works of social commentary. This audio edition of After the Plague and Other Stories is read by Scott Brick, who enhances Boyle's work with his deep resonance, and his ability to perfectly match the emotions imbued in each of Boyle's stories.

Of the sixteen stories contained in this collection, nine have appeared in the New Yorker and three in the O'Henry Awards and The Best American Short Story volumes. The stories touch on almost every aspect of human existence, and each is infused with Boyle's eccentric viewpoint. This eclectic mix of stories illustrate the breadth of Boyle's skill in crafting engaging, and often electrifying short stories. Most of these stories have unexpected endings, and most of the characters have unique responses to the situations in which they find themselves. Overall these are dark and moody stories that deal with interpersonal relationships. The one bright light in this otherwise somber, albeit witty collection, is After the Plague. Although this story concerns the near extinction of human life, it has a happy ending.

Boyle is a prolific author, and has written numerous novels, in addition to his plethora of short stories. His novels are as eclectic as his short stories, and include such diverse titles as The Road to Wellville, A Friend of the Earth, and Tortilla Curtain. Boyle is an academically trained writer, and he has also taught writing to others. His work is resplendent in colorful phrases, deep emotion, and an artistic flare to take the ordinary and turn it into something extraordinary.

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