TC Boyle: ‘It’s a godless world, without hope’

From The Guardian:

Boyle-009'It's all over,” says TC Boyle. “This planet is doomed. In a very short time, we're probably not even going to have culture or art. We're going to be living like we're in Cormac McCarthy's The Road.” In 2000, Boyle published A Friend of the Earth, a novel set in 2025 in a California recently devastated by ecological collapse, where numerous animals have become extinct and rain falls heavily for the majority of the year. “Looking back,” he says, “I should have probably moved the date forward to 2015. We live in a very different world to the one that 19th-century novelists lived in. It's a godless world, without hope.”

Going right back to his astonishingly assured 1982 debut novel, Water Music, in which explorer Mungo Park travels to a pungent west Africa to find the Niger river, Boyle's work has shown a fear and respect for the power of nature. Recently, however, he has seemed more concerned with environmental issues than ever. Again and again in his fiction, man butts up against animal and environment and comes off second best. This was true of Drop City, his 2003 novel about 1970s hippies attempting to live the communal life in Alaska; of the weatherbeaten tales contained in his recent collections After the Plague, Tooth and Claw and Wild Child; and of last year's When the Killing's Done, about conflict between biologists and animal rights protesters. And it's certainly the case in his new book, San Miguel, set on one of the Pacific Channel Islands between the 1880s and 1940s.

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