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Author T.C. Boyle Takes a Hard Look at Gun Violence

Mackenzie Dunn/Texas Standard
Renowned author T.C. Boyle analyzes the phenomena of the individual shooter in his new novel “The Harder They Come.”";s:

From Texas Standard

T.C. Boyle is no stranger to tackling the taboo in his literature. His more than 20 novelsexamine every restricted topic in America and have earned him more accolades than many authors would ever dream of receiving. The New YorkTimes raves his latest novel is the best one yet.

The Harder They Come examines the shootings that seem to be taking place nonstop across America. “It seems like there’s one every month now,” Boyle says. The novel takes place in Fort Bragg, California; however, it could be anywhere in the United States.

The shooting the novel focuses on is “one in which a young man, schizophrenic – and amply supplied with automatic weapons – shot two people and took to the woods – the great Redwood forest – where he was at large for the greatest manhunt in California history,” Boyle explains.

The novel has been called a meditation on gun violence; however, Boyle contends that it is more of an exploration of his own perspective. “I don’t have a political agenda. I’m not pushing a point. All of my books are a meditation on a theme,” Boyle says. “I wonder about things, and the only way I can think deeply is to cast them in a dramatic form.”

Like many Americans, the topic of gun violence has been weighing heavy on Boyle’s mind. “I’ve been brooding about this, worrying about this, as I suppose most of us have been over the past years,” Boyle says. It is because of this that Boyle has taken a larger stance in his novel on how society has been impacted by the persistent shootings. Boyle says, “There’s some kind of intersection of things. We all agree to live in society together and our own personal freedoms. That kind of theme underlies what I’m doing here.”

Emily Donahue is a former grants writer for KUT. She previously served as news director and helped launch KUT’s news department in 2001.
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