The Harder They Come

The Harder They Come Acclaimed New York Times bestselling author T C Boyle makes his Ecco debut with a powerful gripping novel that explores the roots of violence and anti authoritarianism inherent in the American charac

  • Title: The Harder They Come
  • Author: T.C. Boyle
  • ISBN: 9780062349385
  • Page: 461
  • Format: Paperback
  • Acclaimed New York Times bestselling author T.C Boyle makes his Ecco debut with a powerful, gripping novel that explores the roots of violence and anti authoritarianism inherent in the American character.Set in contemporary Northern California, The Harder They Come explores the volatile connections between three damaged people an aging ex Marine and Vietnam veteran, his pAcclaimed New York Times bestselling author T.C Boyle makes his Ecco debut with a powerful, gripping novel that explores the roots of violence and anti authoritarianism inherent in the American character.Set in contemporary Northern California, The Harder They Come explores the volatile connections between three damaged people an aging ex Marine and Vietnam veteran, his psychologically unstable son, and the son s paranoid, much older lover as they careen towards an explosive confrontation.On a vacation cruise to Central America with his wife, seventy year old Sten Stensen unflinchingly kills a gun wielding robber menacing a busload of senior tourists The reluctant hero is relieved to return home to Fort Bragg, California, after the ordeal only to find that his delusional son, Adam, has spiraled out of control.Adam has become involved with Sara Hovarty Jennings, a hardened member of the Sovereign Citizens Movement, right wing anarchists who refuse to acknowledge the laws and regulations of the state, considering them to be false and non applicable Adam s senior by some fifteen years, Sara becomes his protector and inamorata As Adam s mental state fractures, he becomes increasingly schizophrenic a breakdown that leads him to shoot two people in separate instances On the run, he takes to the woods, spurring the biggest manhunt in California history.As he explores a father s legacy of violence and his powerlessness in relating to his equally violent son, T C Boyle offers unparalleled psychological insights into the American psyche Inspired by a true story, The Harder They Come is a devastating and indelible novel from a modern master.

    One thought on “The Harder They Come”

    1. Here was guilt. Here was the shit of the world coming home to roost right here in the redwoods.A part of the American mind has been off its meds for a very long time. There are some fine specimens of the syndrome tramping through the landscape in TC Boyle’s latest novel, The Harder They Come. Sara Hovart Jennings, 40, divorced, lives with her dog and her paranoia. Was she wearing her seatbelt? No, she wasn’t, and she was never going to wear it either. Seatbelt laws were just another contriva [...]

    2. Every punch and thrust and gasp in the opening of T.C. Boyle’s new novel demonstrates why he’s one of the greatest storytellers in the country. Despite his prestigious awards and his university job, he still writes like a man with no presumptions on our attention. He fights for it.“The Harder They Come” begins with a tourist bus slamming through the Costa Rican jungle. The heat, the rising irritation, the scent of danger — everything signals we’re in Boyle country. Seventy-year-old S [...]

    3. 2.5 starsWell, this could should have been a tour de force for TC Boyle. Most of his books (excluding his terrific short story collections) seem to be either slightly off-kilter historical fictions, or contemporary stories used by Boyle as an avenue to expand upon a hot-button sociopolitcal theme. None potentially hotter than The Harder They Come, in which Boyle endeavors to tackle the subjects of crime and violence (or Americans' perceived threat of same), only to have his message drowned in a [...]

    4. I had the opportunity to hear T. C. Boyle read and speak about this new novel in Seattle last week. I love to go to these events and then read the book immediately with the author's insight to his writing and his way of reading the characters' voices fresh in my mind. I have long been a fan of Boyle's work and this one is among the best. His writing is always good. It is clear and easy to follow, but sophisticated storytelling that goes to the depth of the issues, characters and themes. Boyle to [...]

    5. The Harder They Come revolves around three characters: Sten, a 70 year-old retired school principal and Vietnam vet; his mentally unbalanced son, Adam, 25 years old; and 40 year old paranoid libertarian Sara. Set in present-day Fort Bragg, California, the novel sees Adam’s mind slowly unravelling as he becomes more and more obsessed with historical figure John Colter, a scout on the Lewis and Clark expedition. Adam’s untreated schizophrenia, exacerbated by liquor and hard drugs, can only end [...]

    6. I only give 5 stars to books that either really touch me or really impress me. Of course, the book must also be well written. There is no doubt that TC Boyle is a master storyteller, comparable to Cormac McCarthey, in telling a tale that takes your breath away. This book definitely falls into the impressive category for me because it allowed me to look into the minds of individuals one is lucky enough not to be exposed to if one can help it. You hear about them and the shoot-outs involving them [...]

    7. I have not enjoyed Boyle's more recent books, but by and large I'm inclined to view this as nothing more than a matter of taste. "Harder," though, really grabbed me. The main characters had depth. We get hints about their back-stories (Don't worry, these are not spoilers: father Sten was in Vietnam, but we don't know what he experienced there; Sarah doesn't view the US government as having any legitimacy, but we don't know what brought her to this, etc but in the end we have to simply accept the [...]

    8. Hart auf Hart war mein erstes Buch von T. C. Boyle. Schon ab dem ersten Kapitel war ich mitten in der Geschichte und konnte kaum aufhören zu lesen. Es ist sehr flüssig geschrieben und toll zu lesen. Ich freue mich auf meinen nächsten Boyle.

    9. A Worthy Examination of the Ironies in Americans' Reactions 2 ViolenceThe novel centers on a massive manhunt deep in the California woods sometime after 2001 for a young man who has committed 2 inexplicable murders.The father is a 70ish retired high school principal, who's just returned home from a cruise during which he choked to death a 20-year-old gangbanger trying to rob at gunpoint a group of his fellow senior citizens on a junket into the Costa Rican mountains.His son Adam is a mid-20s sch [...]

    10. I liked it butbut I have burned my memory thoroughly looking for characters as distasteful and contemptuous as this lot. Stem and Carolee? What a couple of annoying cliches. Adam, okay, see of him I get (as a career high school teacher, I've known several Adams although none ever ended up like this), so I enjoyed him thest.Now for the worst ass I've read about in years: Sara! What an absolute idiot. What a cliche she became. Knowing Adam was bad made her hot? If she gave him a hot meal, maybe sh [...]

    11. I am not going to rate this because I am only 35% in the book and though I never thought I would say this about one of his books, but I cannot connect at all with this story.

    12. The Harder They Come is a near perfect fiction. The characters are believable. The subject matters. The themes are solid and not in your face. Boyle explores an America that is compared to an America that was. We look at Viet Nam, the new right, old age, mental instability, immigration, crime, tourism. All are found wanting in the four main characters. Adam, the environmentalist warrior, is a totally believable character cut out of the full cloth of disaffecting and disaffective contemporary you [...]

    13. THE HARDER THEY COMET. C. BoyleFour stars because I love T.C. Boyle and his insights into the American psyche in fantastic prose and narrative. He is the keeper of the flame in helping us understand human nature, some of the origins of violence and the often tragic results.The four characters in the book are not necessarily people I care for, but most especially Sara who is unbelievably set in her ways and most of them are anti everything except a lover who is fifteen years younger and exception [...]

    14. It is a biblical theme, the disagreement between the father and the son. Nevertheless there is love at father. Sten was marine in Viet Nam, which in 70 years still succeeds in behaving like a hero at the beginning of the book. The fragile, paranoiac, unstable son takes himself for a trapper of XIX °. The meeting with an older woman is going to transform him. He radicalized himself. The end can be only tragic. I thought of this painting of Rembrandt, " The return of the prodigal son ". This one [...]

    15. For the 30 years that I've been reading the works of T. C. Boyle, he has never let me down. His unbridled curiosity has led him to write clear, unsentimental, non-cliched books that go down so smoothly, I'm usually surprised that I've reached the end. Whether it's the Kinseys, 1970's era hippies, settlers on islands rearing sheep or the wives of Frank Lloyd Wright, he imbues his well researched books with characters who find themselves dealing with unexpected situations in unexpected ways. This [...]

    16. no. the story is nicely paced and relatively fun, i mean, if you are into that kind of stuff, but here are two big problems (the second way bigger than the first):1. lots of language. a million adjectives. please move the story along.2. i have no idea why i read about these three people. none. the story had all the potential of being a good exploration of about 150 different themes, but focused instead on the action (with a ton of words to wade through to get to the next bit), and one had no ide [...]

    17. I don't need flash, irony, literary tricks and deceptions. I just want a great story told by a master storyteller and Mr. Boyle is one of our best. I liked his last one, flew through this one, and will wait (mostly) patiently for the next.

    18. This was my first T.C. Boyle book and it was excellent! Rich characters, gripping story. I was inspired to do much research afterwards. I think we all knew someone like Adam in high school. He reminded me of Christopher McCandless in Into the Wild, except psychotic and dangerous. My family owns a forestry property in Fort Bragg so this was of particular interest to me. Definitely like T.C. Boyle's writing style and look forward to reading more from his library.

    19. TC Boyle needs to explore some new terrain. In "The Harder They Come" Boyle yet again explores the American character and independent spirit in their relation to the harsh beauty of nature and the soft easy times we live in. It really seems as if half his books tread this same ground and at this late stage in his career he seems to have run out of interesting things to say about it. Boyle also writes with a measure of disdain for his characters. I get the impression he thinks he understands peop [...]

    20. This is the second Boyle novel I've read that is set in California. He is masterful at portraying tensions between various sectors of California society - Anglos, Mexican immigrants, survivalists and assorted "loonies", law enforcement etc. There are few "normal" undamaged characters in Boyle's landscape. Sten, a Vietnam vet, is father to Adam who calls himself Colter, a self-made survivalist. Colter is increasingly delusional which leads to violence. His father is also guilty of recently killin [...]

    21. 4.0 stars"What we've got here is failure to communicate. Some men, you just can't reach."I didn't like every single chapter of this book, but the chapters I did like, I liked quite a lot. The second half of this book is where it shines. The story follows 3 different characters as their paths intersect: a retired principal, who's a veteran of the Vietnam War; his 25-year-old mentally ill son, Adam; and a 40-year-old woman, who's a conspiracy theorist. The chapters that followed Adam were by far m [...]

    22. As 'The Harder They Come' begins, characters Sten Stenson and his wife Carolee are on a South American cruise. An incident on a day trip ashore establishes 70-year-old Sten has not lost any of his skills or wits acquired while a soldier in Vietnam despite that he has been a high school principal for decades before he retired. His personality as a practical man who has embraced the reality the world is a violent place seems to me very heroic in the American 'quiet cowboy' style. Sten is not seeki [...]

    23. Audiobook: This book has to have one of the strangest titles, I kept trying to decide whether it was meant or be scatalogical or eschatalogical.The first short section tried to define Sten who, while on a cruise ship side trip, kills a Costa Rican hood who was trying to rob him and some other passengers. Skip to back home where his son, Adam, a survivalist (and someone who kept reminding me of Holden Caufield which his strange mixture of bravado and naivete and world view) has hooked up with Sar [...]

    24. T.C. Boyle zählt für mich zu den besten aktuellen Schriftstellern, er versteht es, mit einem gewissen untergründigen Humor und skurrilen Personen und Begebenheiten zu unterhalten und dabei zudem etwas zum Nachdenken mitzubringen. In "Hart auf Hart" (mir gefällt der deutsche Titel überhaupt nicht, dann doch lieber den Originaltitel auch für die Übersetzung belassen: "The harder they come") ist die Ironie jedoch nicht so ausgeprägt wie in seinen anderen Büchern. Ist aber nicht das erste M [...]

    25. T.C. Boyle’s tightly scripted novels never paint an especially hopeful picture of the world. In The Harder They Come, Boyle gives us perhaps his bleakest vision yet. His characters are unredeemably flawed, generally unlikeable, and it isn’t giving much away to say that it doesn’t end well for many of them. But however much the plot spirals towards inevitable disaster, it still grips, with each set piece sharply and viscerally drawn. As a tale of racial tension, ignorance, loneliness and di [...]

    26. This is my first novel by Boyle and it won't be the last. Once I began reading I could barely put it down again. This is especially surprising because none of the characters are very likable. The plot moves slowly, the characterizations are subtle, and Boyle takes his time unfolding everybody's motivations, fears, beliefs. Alternating points of view present this intriguing story from different angles and it is as thrilling as it is devastating to watch the events being puzzled together over many [...]

    27. Not my favorite T C Boyle book, but he drew me in as he usually does. Interesting, though told in third person, each section is from a different character's point of view. If you are a fan of T C Boyle, definitely worth the read. If you are new to this author I would suggest World's End or Road to Wellville.

    28. THE HARDER THEY COME, by T.C. Boyle is a realistic character driven plot centred around three main characters; Sten, Adam and Sara. This is a compelling tale about the relationship between these flawed damaged people, and touches on some complex often contradictory moral issues from various perspectives.Seventy year old ex-marine, Vietnam veteran Sten is reluctantly hailed a hero when, on vacation to Central America with his wife, he disarms and kills a mugger, one of a gang that has been menaci [...]

    29. In 13 chapters, we follow Adam Stenson’s path down of the spiral of violence, and his influence on his family and lover – as well as the influence of his family on him… Each chapter changes perspective and often tells the same incident again but from another point of view. Very interesting insights into the characters are being revealed this way. I was expecting some “how it could all come to this” explanatory scenario, but there is very little of this. The fact is that Adam is mentall [...]

    30. This book should not have taken me a week to read, but I have been in tech rehearsals and sleep deprived. The book itself is good, if a bit clunky at times. Boyle does a great job empathizing with odd characters. The only other one of his books that I have read was The Women and despite knowing some pretty awful things about Frank Lloyd Wright, I ended up liking him. Boyle does the same thing here with Adam and Sara. Both of them are people with whom I would strongly disagree in real life (anyon [...]

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