When the Killing's Done

When the Killing's Done

Book - 2011
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From the bestselling author of The Women comes an action- packed adventure about endangered animals and those who protect them.

Principally set on the wild and sparsely inhabited Channel Islands off the coast of Santa Barbara, T.C. Boyle's powerful new novel combines pulse-pounding adventure with a socially conscious, richly humane tale regarding the dominion we attempt to exert, for better or worse, over the natural world. Alma Boyd Takesue is a National Park Service biologist who is spearheading the efforts to save the island's endangered native creatures from invasive species like rats and feral pigs, which, in her view, must be eliminated. Her antagonist, Dave LaJoy, is a dreadlocked local businessman who, along with his lover, the folksinger Anise Reed, is fiercely opposed to the killing of any species whatsoever and will go to any lengths to subvert the plans of Alma and her colleagues.

Their confrontation plays out in a series of escalating scenes in which these characters violently confront one another, and tempt the awesome destructive power of nature itself. Boyle deepens his story by going back in time to relate the harrowing tale of Alma's grandmother Beverly, who was the sole survivor of a 1946 shipwreck in the channel, as well as the tragic story of Anise's mother, Rita, who in the late 1970s lived and worked on a sheep ranch on Santa Cruz Island. In dramatizing this collision between protectors of the environment and animal rights' activists, Boyle is, in his characteristic fashion, examining one of the essential questions of our time: Who has the right of possession of the land, the waters, the very lives of all the creatures who share this planet with us? When the Killing's Done will offer no transparent answers, but like The Tortilla Curtain , Boyle's classic take on illegal immigration, it will touch you deeply and put you in a position to decide.
Publisher: New York : Viking, 2011.
ISBN: 9780670022328
Characteristics: 369 p. ; 24 cm.

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WestSlope_TheaH Aug 21, 2018

This is a superb novel by one of my favorite fiction authors. I wrote my undergraduate thesis on invasive species management and found this a highly compelling story that is thought-provoking, suspenseful, and darkly humorous and pits environmentalist against environmentalist. (A historical fiction streak in this book is a bonus!)

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fred98115
Jan 14, 2018

Uneven writing and length of this book make it a reading project. Scientists and activists collide over the eradication of non-native pigs on an island near Santa Barbara.

s
stewstealth
Dec 27, 2016

A forceful narrative style combined with good characterizations that that is a little weak in the conflict and drama. The conflict between restoring an original environment by slaughtering human introduced species versus animal rights advocates was thought provoking but the individual conflicts and the denouement were a bit disappointing. Read it if you are interested.

k
Katieshw
Nov 02, 2012

Interesting story, but the writing style was over the top for me. But that's just me. If you're into science and ecology, it's an excellent read.

m
Ms_M
Mar 01, 2012

Great Writer, It's one thing then another, causation

r
rslade
Nov 16, 2011

Fairly complex, and raises some interesting issues about ecology and conservation, but not very compelling as a book.

fictionfanne Nov 02, 2011

Another great "issue" book from T.C. Boyle. This time it's animals rights v. the invasion of non-native species. Great characters, great setting.

patienceandfortitude Aug 12, 2011

This is an enjoyable read. Not my favorite of his books (which is Drop City) but worthwhile. Boyle puts interesting people together in conflict. In this case it is environmentalists vs animal rights folk in the setting of Santa Cruz Island. Fun and at times riveting.

debwalker Feb 23, 2011

"Boyle's 13th novel is an eco-themed thriller. The Channel Islands off Santa Barbara is the setting for a Darwinian struggle" between environmental advocates and animal rights activists.
Dan Smith
Toronto Star Feb 20, 2011

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