Denied a dog, a baby, and even a faithful fiancé, Cat suddenly craves a snake: a glistening, writhing creature that can be worn like "jewelry, living jewelry" to match her black jeans. But when the budding social media star promptly loses the young "Burmie" she buys from a local pet store, she inadvertently sets in motion a chain of increasingly dire and outrageous events that comes to threaten her very survival.
"Brilliantly imaginative . . . in a terrifying way" (Annie Proulx), Blue Skies follows in the tradition of T. C. Boyle's finest novels, combining high-octane plotting with mordant wit and shrewd social commentary. Here Boyle, one of the most inventive voices in contemporary fiction, transports us to water-logged and heat-ravaged coastal America, where Cat and her hapless, nature-loving family-including her eco-warrior parents, Ottilie and Frank; her brother, Cooper, an entomologist; and her frat-boy-turned-husband, Todd-are struggling to adapt to the "new normal," in which once-in-a-lifetime natural disasters happen once a week and drinking seems to be the only way to cope.
But there's more than meets the eye to this compulsive family drama. Lurking beneath the banal façade of twenty-first-century Californians and Floridians attempting to preserve normalcy in the face of violent weather perturbations is a caricature of materialist American society that doubles as a prophetic warning about our planet's future. From pet bees and cricket-dependent diets to massive species die-off and pummeling hurricanes, Blue Skies deftly explores the often volatile relationships between humans and their habitats, in which "the only truism seems to be that things always get worse."
An eco-thriller with teeth, Boyle's Blue Skies is at once a tragicomic satire and a prescient novel that captures the absurdity and "inexpressible sadness at the heart of everything."