Riven Rock

Riven Rock T C Boyle s seventh novel transforms two characters straight out of history into rich mythic figures whose tortured love story is as heartbreaking as it is hilarious It is the dawn of the twentieth ce

  • Title: Riven Rock
  • Author: T.C. Boyle
  • ISBN: 9780140271669
  • Page: 461
  • Format: Paperback
  • T C Boyle s seventh novel transforms two characters straight out of history into rich mythic figures whose tortured love story is as heartbreaking as it is hilarious It is the dawn of the twentieth century when the beautiful, budding feminist Katherine Dexter falls in love with Stanley McCormick, son of a millionaire inventor The two wed, but before the marriage is conT C Boyle s seventh novel transforms two characters straight out of history into rich mythic figures whose tortured love story is as heartbreaking as it is hilarious It is the dawn of the twentieth century when the beautiful, budding feminist Katherine Dexter falls in love with Stanley McCormick, son of a millionaire inventor The two wed, but before the marriage is consummated, Stanley experiences a nervous breakdown and is diagnosed as a schizophrenic sex maniac Locked up for the rest of his life at Riven Rock, the family s California mansion, Stanley is treated by a series of confident doctors determined to cure him But his true salvation lies with Katherine who, throughout her career as a scientist and suffragette, continues a patient vigil from beyond the walls of Riven Rock, never losing hope that one day Stanley will be healed.Blending social history with some of the most deliciously dark humor ever written, Boyle employs his hallmark virtuoso prose to tell the story of America s age of innocence and of a love affair that is as extraordinary as it is unforgettable.

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    About "T.C. Boyle"

    1. T.C. Boyle

      T Coraghessan Boyle also known as T.C Boyle, born Thomas John Boyle on December 2, 1948 is a U.S novelist and short story writer Since the late 1970s, he has published eleven novels and than 60 short stories He won the PEN Faulkner award in 1988 for his third novel, World s End, which recounts 300 years in upstate New York He is married with three children Boyle has been a Distinguished Professor of English at the University of Southern California since 1978, when he founded the school s undergraduate creative writing program.He grew up in the small town on the Hudson Valley that he regularly fictionalizes as Peterskill as in widely anthologized short story Greasy Lake Boyle changed his middle name when he was 17 and exclusively used Coraghessan for much of his career, but now also goes by T.C Boyle.

    901 thoughts on “Riven Rock”

    1. When you’re in a tight spot, it’s not unreasonable to turn to the familiar folks of the past for comfort, so I turned to T.C. Boyle when I needed an airplane book quick. Oh, well, I suppose he did his best, but I wonder why he turned his considerable talents to this lugubrious subject. Riven Rock is a cheerless tale of obsessions. A novelized account of the life of Robert Stanley McCormick, Youngest son of Cyrus, the reaper inventor, it details the descent of a dashing, eccentric, young aris [...]

    2. So, I've had a few days to think about this one. An oddity. Off-kilter and skewed in more ways than one. But I liked it! So, yes, odd is good.And this is one of the oddest (and saddest) of love stories. The power of love (whatever that is) unites Stanley and Katherine, and a peculiar, unidentified force (call it madness, insanity, dementia praecox, schizophrenia, or the prescribed treatment of said diagnoses)keeps them apart for cades. The long, mostly uneventful saga moves forward in time only. [...]

    3. I was very mixed on this one. As usual, Boyle's writing was wonderful, descriptive, and puts you in every scene in the story. However, to me the plot seemed lacking. There didn't seem to be any momentum to the story. The same things seemed to happen over and over without change. I'll admit there were some fascinating aspects to the story of Stanley McCormick who was the mentally unbalanced heir to the McCormick reaper fortune. The story shifts between Stanley's inability to get along in society, [...]

    4. Surprisingly I am sort of bugged down here. I love T.C.Boyle. I totally swallowed "Talk talk" (oh, well, it is a thriller :), and really liked "Women" and many stories. "Tortilla Curtain" was also quite good. "When the killing is done" was tough but I muddled through because the issues were very important IMHO (illegal immigration in "Curtain" and environmental conservation in "Killing"). But "Riven Rock" well I just cannot seem to care about any of the characters learned plenty about the lifest [...]

    5. There were a lot of things that I greatly enjoyed about this book. As usual, Boyle is a master of description. He sets each scene so that you feel you are there reading the faces of the characters and feeling the emotion of the room. Riven Rock is written just as cleverly and well as his other books. The historic nature of the book is also really interesting. Boyle is clearly interested in aspects of the treatment of mental illness (in this book and others) and the book provides a nice overview [...]

    6. The brilliant T. C. Boyle, modern-day Dickens, here gives a fictionalized account of the lives of Stanley McCormick, sex fiend and heir to a harvester fortune, and Katherine McCormick (nee Dexter), his loyal wife, who, ironically since she never enjoyed sexual relations with her husband, contributes to the development of the Pill.There's a lovely counterpoint in this fiction: the story of Eddie O'Kane. O'Kane is presented as one of Stanley's carers. O Kane's problems with women are almost as gre [...]

    7. My favorite book by one of my favorite authors. This is one of those books that I truly wish went on forever. Here is where I fell in love with T.C. Boyle and his slow-build-to-rollicking-crescendo storytelling.

    8. Riven Rock was named by it's prisoner, Stanley McCormick, heir to the corporation that was to become International Harvester. The house in California was acquired and fitted out for Stanley's older sister, whose schizophrenia made it impossible for her to live normally. The estate has a boulder in the middle of which a tree grew and split the boulder in half. This is a metaphor for Stanley's own brand of mental illness, which ultimately lead to his being incarcerated there.While his wife Katheri [...]

    9. T.C. Boyle is one of my favorite contemporary writers. This novel did nothing to sway me from that judgement. The central element of the novel is Stanley McCormick, son of the famous Cyrus McCormick. Stanley suffers from a form of psychosis that causes him to brutally attack women. The leading experts of the time decree that he must be totally isolated from women in order for healing to occur. He is thus isolated at a California mansion called Riven Rock, where he is cared for by a team includin [...]

    10. Fascinating historical fiction about the youngest son of Cyrus McCormick, Stanley Robert McCormick, schizophrenic and reluctant heir to the McCormick Reaper, later International Harvester, fortune. Told mostly from the perspective of his male nurse with flashbacks to his early life and relationship with his wife, Katherine Dexter. I liked the time period and Katherine's involvement in women's issues of the early 1900s.

    11. At first, great. Very engaging. The characters grow on you, then begin to suffocate you. I was so sick of the main character's alcoholism, the protagonist's mental illness, and his wife's reluctance to get free from her sick husband.This author is one of my favorites, but this may be my least favorite of his books.

    12. Crisp, elegant writing style. Riveting story in the beginning - however a star taken off because the plot became a bit tedious, and many points felt belabored. Despite that, it's an excellent character study.

    13. After reading this I felticky. Icky because sex was so shameful in this book. There wasn't love--only base animalistic desires, obsession, duty, repression, guilt, hate, shame, and regret. I don't think this was a love story as much as it was a hateful, cynical exploration of different extremes of human sexuality. You have Stanley, whose sexuality is tied up in shame, self loathing and violence, who was ruined forever by one childhood incident where he saw his sister peeing on a toilet. Can you [...]

    14. This was my third TC Boyle book, and the first one that I liked. It might have something to do with the fact that the other two books (which I both got for free) were translations, and Boyle’s much lauded wit might not translate well. Anyway, I appreciated the prose a great deal in this book. Does Boyle always write about true stories? Well, with this one, there wasn’t anywhere to go, the love story is sad and stunted, and the ending is tragically trivial. I liked the Katherine / Stanley thr [...]

    15. T. Coraghessan Boyle is one of my all-time favorite writers - so why I hadn't read Riven Rock is beyond me. It came out in 1998 and I have a beautiful SIGNED first edition, inscribed to me with his usual "Con amistad." Okay, I was working at the time. Now I'm retired - and out it came. WOW. I was mesmerized from day 1 when I began to day 5 when I finished all 466 pages. I knew the basics - it was a literary rendition of the life of Stanley McCormick - the heir to the reaper fortune - and his wif [...]

    16. Das war eins der schwächeren Bücher meines Lieblingsautors TC Boyle. Die Geschichte plätschert leider zu oft vor sich hin. Dazu kommt noch, dass ich mit dem 19. Jahrhundert bis zum, wie hier, Anfang 20. Jh. eigentlich nichts so richtig anfangen kann. Diese Zeit interessiert mich so gut wie fast gar nicht.

    17. The story contains precocious allusions, metaphors, similes, inferences, etc. to an excess. Yet, it provides an excellent situational composition making plots vivid. As in young Katherine (one of the main protagonists) facing her afflicted father: “She started toward him, no time for thought or wonder or even fear, her arms outstretched to receive him, bundle him, protect him, and all at once the wall heaved and threw him out into the center of the hallway on legs that had gone dead, and he wa [...]

    18. It's been a while since I picked up a T.C. Boyle book. I so enjoy him as an author, but man are these missives dense! This one took me a particularly long time to get through, but much of that can be blamed on the World Series. It's beautifully written as you'd only expect from Boyle, but I found myself troubled by several things. First, I still have no idea who the protagonist was supposed to be: Katherine, the wife who stands by her husband but flies in the face of the prescribed gender roles [...]

    19. Ein eher schwacher Boyle-Roman im Vergleich etwa zu "America". Auch in diesem Roman wechselt der Fokus zwischen den Figuren und den Handlungsorten und -zeiten, jedoch kann diese Geschichte trotz der Häufung an kontroversen und eigentlich aufregenden Themen (Frauenemanzipation, psychische Krankheit eines berühmten Erben, etc.) wenig Spannung erzeugen, der Roman plätschert eher dahin und es hat den Anschein, dass Boyle selbst von seinen Figuren und der Geschichte gelangweilt war, wenn er am End [...]

    20. This lengthy novel is based on real characters. Stanley McCormick is an heir to Cyrus McCormick, and Katherine Dexter is a socialite, suffragist and scientist. They meet and marry, but the marriage is never consummated. Soon after, Stanley is diagnosed as a schizophrenic and sexual psychopath and locked away -- far from the company of women -- for decades. Katherine is active in the budding woman's movement and as a birth-control advocate. She also oversees her husband's business interests and t [...]

    21. I found myself impatient to be finished with this book; as the story dragged on, I felt almost as if I had been forcibly confined to the Riven Rock estate along with Stanley McCormick. It was interesting enough that I wasn't willing to give up on it, but not compelling enough to make me anxious to continue reading. In the end, I think what the story was lacking was at least one likeable, well-developed character to whom I could relate. Stanley McCormick is extremely damaged goods almost from the [...]

    22. I always find a book more impressive when I know it is based on real facts, events that have happened or people that have gone through what the book tells about.Stanley McCormick and Katherine Dexter take me back to Wharton's Age of Innocence, but their sufferings and tortured love seem much more heartbreaking.Edward O'Kane is Boyle himself, more real and more flesh and blood than the characters he follows with his unforgivable eyes.Through his own story we learn all about Katherine, the woman w [...]

    23. I have lived most of my life on California's central coast, so it's ironic that I picked this book up at Powell's in Portland, OR, having no idea it was set in such a familiar environment. The surroundings play a large part in this story, almost as important as the characters. There is an interesting parallel between the main characters who live in "paradise", yet are unable to truly enjoy their surroundings due to the conscripted lives they lead; in Stanley's case, his profound mental illness c [...]

    24. Boyle is one of the most unsung novelists in America, yet this effort can only be called an epic failure. As is typical of his historical fiction, Boyle shoots for the moon with mixed results. As compelling as a tale of sexual deviance should be, Boyle somehow manages to make the topic boring while also offering little insight into the character or the mode of the times (a blurb said it was an examination of mental illness and misogyny, but the truth is the Boyle wanders aimlessly without a firm [...]

    25. Loved it. Cannot seem to read enough T.C. Boyle this year. This fantastically written story is based on a true story, the life of Stanley McCormick, born in the late 1800, an heir to the McCormick millions, they invented the reaper machine. Stanley was the youngest of the McCormick children. He had an older sister who suffered from mental illness. Around the age of 30 Stanley met and fell in love with Katherine. Times were different then, they weren't allowed to date unchaperoned, and Stanley's [...]

    26. An excellent historical novel about Stanley McCormick, son and heir of Cyrus McCormick, who invented of the reaper. Stanley suffered from paranoid schizophrenia for his entire adult life and was confined in the house that was built for his sister, who also suffered from the same mental illness. The story moves easily from the house in Santa Barbara where he is treated by a series of psychiatrists and kept from the company of women, to the personal love life of one of his male nurses, to the even [...]

    27. Mein erster Anlauf dieses Buch zu lesen, ist etwa 10 Jahre her. Damals hatte ich mich noch an der Originialausgabe versucht, in der deutschen Übersetzung hat es dann dieses Mal geklappt.Obwohl in diesem Buch ständig von Sex die Rede ist, zumeist mit einer pathologischen Sicht, ist das Geschichte selbst leider ziemlich klimaxfrei ( *höhö* ). Ständig hab ich auf einen großen Knall gehofft, wodurch die Geschichte Fahrt aufnehmen könnte, wurde aber bis zum Ende enttäuscht. Interessanterweise [...]

    28. Totally absorbing tale of a brilliant wealthy young man who marries an heiress and has his world fall to pieces. This is a novel based on real characters of Stanley McCormick, and his wife Katherine and the battle to control the treatment which Stanley would receive from his 20s until his death decades later.Riven Rock was a McCormick property built in Montecito a suburb of Santa Barbara to house their mentally ill daughter. Stanley was much involved in its design with no foreknowledge that he w [...]

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