cover image Blue Skies

Blue Skies

T.C. Boyle. Liveright, $30 (368p) ISBN 978-1-324-09302-2

Boyle’s spirited latest (after the collection I Walk Between the Raindrops) follows an extended family through a series of ecological disasters. In Beach Haven, Fla., an aspiring influencer named Cat impulse-buys a Burmese python, dreaming of racking up views on social media. Her fiancé, Todd, a Bacardí brand ambassador, is less enthusiastic. Back in Santa Barbara, Calif., Cat’s mother, Ottilie, adds insect protein to her diet to appease her entomologist son, Cooper, an outspoken climate fatalist. Soon, disaster strikes: Cooper contracts a nasty infection that changes his life, and Cat and Todd’s California wedding is thwarted by wind and wildfires. Later, torrential rains and flooding in coastal Florida prevent Todd from returning from a business trip and a pregnant Cat goes into labor alone; Ottilie, arriving for the birth, is forced to commandeer a rowboat. Meanwhile, a massive global insect die-off has Cooper sifting through bug carcasses in triple digit temperatures in California’s Santa Ynez Valley, and as the weather gets worse, no one emerges unscathed. Boyle remains a vibrant stylist, with fondness for his complex characters and a knack for zany details (Ottilie’s dinners with her physician husband include fried grasshoppers and mescal-worm tacos). Equal parts entertaining and anxiety inducing, this dazzles. Agent: Georges Borchardt, Georges Borchardt Inc. (May)