Riven Rock Author:T. C. Boyle In Riven Rock, his most fully realized and compassionate novel to date, T.C. Boyle transforms two characters straight out of history into rich mythic creations whose tortured love and epic story is intimate enough to break our hearts. These unforgettable characters invite the reader's care as never before in a Boyle novel. With the scope of E.L... more ». Doctorow's Ragtime, Riven Rock uses real American subjects to come to terms with love and loss in the early years of our century. Boyle anchors his tale with the remarkable and courageous Katherine Dexter. Wed to Stanley McCormick - thirty-one-year-old son of the millionaire inventor of the Reaper, and a schizophrenic sexual maniac - Katherine struggles to cure him while he is locked up in his Santa Barbara mansion and forbidden the mere sight of a women - above all, his wife. Throughout her career as a scisntist ad suffragette, her faith never wavers: one day, one of the psychiatrists she finds for her husband will, she insists, return him to her, free of demons, a yearned-for lover. "Still America's most imaginative contemporary novelist" (Newsweek), Boyle weaves his hallmark virtuoso prose onto a recreation of America's age of innocence against a backdrop of wealth and privilege. And at the center of Riven Rock are its people, somehow bound together in thier deep sense of fidelity to each other.« less
TC Boyle can always be counted upon for touching but weird characters and this story -- a fictionalized account of the life of mechanical reaper heir (and incurably psychotic) Stanley McCormick -- is no exception. McCormick developed violent sexual obsessions and delusions as a young man and spent much of his life confined to his estate, cared for by a series of early psychiatrists and group of devoted male attendants. McCormick's bride, Katherine, remained faithful to her husband and involved in his care throughout their lives, despite years of forced separation and McCormick's failure to consummate the relationship. It's difficult to say whether this is a tragedy or a story of heroic fidelity. In either case, it's a fantastic book.