Descent Of Man
About three or so of these 17 short stories you might call "serious." About six could be called "weird": what strange things go on in an astronaut's house when he's flying way above; the inventor of "Furballs"-a strain of limbless, headless, tailless, non-excreting cats that may put electric blankets out of business; how a hippie commune reacts to a biblical plague of blood. And the rest? About the best outrageous comic writing we've read in a long time. In the Primate Center down in Atlanta, things are progressing a little too well ("The chimp shook himself daintily, zippered up, pulled the plunger, crossed to the sink, washed and dried his hands, and left. I found I no longer had to go"). A man becomes obsessed with crashing a women-only restaurant ("I picture them. . . sipping, slouching, dandling sandals from their great toes. . . dropping the coils of their hair, unfastening their brassieres, rubbing the makeup from their faces"). And, best of all: "Heart of a Champion," with each and every Lassie cliché mugged up gloriously until the faithful dog gets lascivious over a mangy coyote-and the two canines together have little Timmy for dinner. Boyle swings for the fences: lots of cheerful grossness. But the real hilarity in his imagination works so consistently because his prose is so fine, reminiscent of early Perelman. This is a very funny man here, and an even better writer. Enjoy yourself.