T. C. Boyle was born in Peekshill, New York, in 1948, where he spent his childhood in rather difficult circumstances. He obtained his school leaving certificate and finished his studies in English Language and History at the State University of New York in 1968. He became a writer, a musician and a high school teacher. In 1977 he wrote his doctorate thesis about 19th century English literature at the University of Iowa, where he also took writing lessons with John Irving.
In his first novel »Watermusic« (1980) he follows the traces of the African explorer Mungo Park, who in the early 19th century undertook an expedition to the sources of the Niger River and failed. For his third novel, the family saga »World’s End« (1987), Boyle received the PEN/Faulkner Award for the Best Book of the Year. Based on the idea of an echo produced by the events that touch families and a nation, Boyle developed a system of reflections for the novel, in order to show how certain patterns repeat from generation to generation. His novel »The Road to Wellville« (1993) is reminiscent of Thomas Mann’s »Magic Mountain«. It tells the story of a couple staying at a sanatoriumrun by the cornflakes inventor Kellogg. A healthy lifestyle is meant to be their way towards eternal youth. The book was turned into a film based on a screenplay by Alan Parker in 1994. »The Tortilla Curtain« (1995) met a lot of criticism: » Because it dealt with a hot-button socio-political issue–illegal immigration in Southern California–many of the reviewers came into the book with strong prejudices. I took a good deal of abuse….« »The Tortilla Curtain« was awarded the Prix Médicis Étranger, and has meanwhile become a modern classic also in the USA. »The Inner Circle« (2004) is a portrait of American society of the 1940s and 1950s, the years of prudishness and repressed desires. Boyle’s recent book »San Miguel« (2012) tells the story of three women in California at the end of the 19th century. T.C. Boyle has written 14 novels and more than sixty short stories. His anthology »Tooth and Claw« (2005) includes narrations set in different centuries and social groups. They are about humans and their struggles against (human) nature.
T. C. Boyle underlines the performative character of his frequent readings. He is always true to his motto: »Literature can be great in all ways, but it’s just entertainment.« The writers lives in Montecito near Santa Barbara, California.