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T. C. Boyle Recommends...

Writers Recommend

Posted 12.03.09

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"I've been inspired by a whole host of music and writing, as is evident especially in my short stories. A few are retakes on classic stories, such as 'The Overcoat II' or 'The Devil and Irv Cherniske' or my sequel to For Whom the Bell Tolls, ‘Me Cago en la Leche (Robert Jordan in Nicaragua).' As for music, there is my story inspired by Robert Johnson's life, 'Stones in My Passway, Hellhound on My Trail,' which provides the final, absolute, and definitive version of how he died (he was poisoned by a woman he done wrong), and perhaps my best-known (or certainly the most anthologized) story, 'Greasy Lake,' which takes off from a line in Bruce Springsteen's 'Spirit in the Night' ('It's about a mile down on the dark side of Route 88' serves as the story's epigraph). And, in a more general way, I never sit down to write without music playing in the background. It opens me up. It thrills me. It sets me afire with rhythm and joy."
T. C. Boyle, author of Wild Child (Viking, forthcoming in January 2010)

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