I have one of T. C. Boyle’s books, The Tortilla Curtain, in my top ten favorite fiction list. I was happy to see he had a new novel come out recently. After reading it, I think I might like it even more than The Tortilla Curtain. Boyle has an interesting way of taking current controversial topics and forcing you to see the craziness on both sides.
The title refers to the removal, by the National Park Service, of non-native invasive species from the Northern Channel Islands near Santa Barbara. Headed by biologist Alma Boyd Takesue they plan to remove first rats from one island and then pigs from another. These plans are fiercely opposed by Dave LaJoy, who is against the killing of any creature. There are some interesting back stories as well. Alma’s grandmother was shipwrecked on one of the islands and Dave’s girlfriend spent time living on another one.
The book has a crazy scene on Santa Cruz Island with Dave and his crew trying to sabotage the pig hunt while Alma is with the pig hunters. It’s a disaster in the way that only Boyle’s books can pull off plausibly.
I highly recommend this book, although it’s not a feel good type of book. It did make me want to visit these islands though.