A Friend of the Earth

"A Friend of the Earth" is a novel that alternates in time between the near-present and about twenty-five years in the future, when the worst nightmares of the environmental movement have come to pass. Global warming has turned Southern California into a terrible place to live; violent storms alternate with 130 degree days. The central character, an "eco-terrorist", works to maintain a menagerie that includes the last examples of some of the exotic species of the world, including the last lions. He spends his off-hours sabotaging logging activities and development projects. Some parts of the book are amusing if savage satires, but I found the overall effect to be rather depressing. Boyle reminds us that, while it is possible to find a bright spot here and there in the battle for the environment, the bigger picture includes the pressure of populations and the growing certainty that we will have to cope with the effects of global warming. I became familiar with Boyle when I read his "Road To Wellville", a fictionalization of the bizarre diets and health manias of the early 20th century.

Publication information
Pick Attribution: 

T. C. Boyle

Publication Date: 
Saturday, January 1, 2000