Sunday, February 26, 2012

Los Gigantes

by T. Coraghessan Boyle

I was first introduced to the work of T. Coraghessan Boyle in my final year of high school by a teacher who used his short stories to teach writer's craft.  In the almost twenty years since then, I have read almost a dozen of his books, and have always enjoyed them, although I often find his short stories to be better.  Partly, that's just because I prefer short stories these days anyway, but still...

Los Gigantes is a great example of Boyle's sense of humour and weirdness.  It's set in an unnamed Latin American country, and stars a man who is unnatural in his height and his strength.  He and other large men have been recruited into the military to aid in the President's eugenics program.  They spend their days mating with equally large women, as the President hopes to build an army of giants (there are also rumours that elsewhere in the jungle he has small people working at breeding a corps of perfect spies - within a couple of generations, they are expected to be little larger than a housecat).

While this all sounds great - especially when the President's former pastry chef is hired to prepare the meals, our giant soon chafes (literally and figuratively) under the regimen, and begins the first of a series of escape attempts.

This story is great.  It's a good example of Boyle's ability to identify a theme, get in and start messing with it, and get out again in a matter of pages.  His writing is always taut, plausible, and often skewering.  I should get back to reading some of his newer books...

No comments: