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(09/20/2008) Budding Prospects by T. Coraghessan Boyle. New York. 1984. Viking Press. keywords: Literature America Drugs. 326 pages. Jacket design by Michael Doret. 0670194395. May 1984.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   From a brilliant young novelist who has already been compared to Gabriel Garcia Marquez, John Fowles, Thomas Pynchon, John Barth, and Tom Robbins, here is a hilarious and pyrotechnic yarn about marijuana farming in northern California. Its hero is Felix, an oddly attractive 31-year-old wastrel who has taken a left turn from the mainstream but is still powered by its illusions. He has run out on practically everything in his life - the Boy Scouts, graduate school, his wife - and now he has hit a solitary low point. As he tells it, 'I woke alone, I flossed my teeth alone, worked at odd jobs, ate take-out burritos, read the newspaper and undressed for bed alone. ' He is, in short, ready to be talked into farming a crop of sinsemilla by his enterprising friend Vogelsang, an entrepreneur who collects antique esoterica, cases of dry red wine from little vineyards with names like Goat's Crouch, and girls like the punkette Aorta, a singer with an all-female group called the Nostrils. Felix enlists two other lost souls in this pastoral labor: an old school Friend named Phil Cherniske and Phil's 200-pound housemate, Gesh. Together the three of them set off for the lonely hills of northern California where - sustained by booze, exotic chemicals, masculine conversation, and the occasional woman - they propose, under conditions of the greatest secrecy, to carry off a major agricultural coop worth more than a million dollars. But they haven't reckoned with the not-so-benevolent neighborliness of the farmer on the next hill and his mentally unbalanced son, or the depredations of wildlife and the vicissitudes of nature, or the havoc wrought on their necessarily hermetic solitude by the lusts of the flesh. And most of all they haven't prepared for the fact that Felix will undertake - on behalf of a wayward sculptress with whom he has fallen improbably in love - a one-man vendetta against a drug-busting state trooper named Jerpbak. What follows is an irresistible, exuberant narrative that brings its author's full-throttle wit and dazzling gift for storytelling into balance with deeply sympathetic characterizations and an affirmative moral vision. As Salman Rushdie said of WATER MUSIC, Mr. Boyle's first novel, 'Gulp it down; it beats getting drunk.'

 

 

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