The Harder They Come Analysis

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T.C. Boyle 's latest novel gallops through the wilderness and its rider is the human psyche. Seemingly ordinary people attempt to shed light on real problems. From slamming through "one of the million and a half pot-holes cratering the street" to "The wheel stopped….And it was never going to start again," Boyle delivers on his promise of dramatic and exquisitely detailed prose. The Harder They Come centers around a family on the brink of the edge. Sten Stenson, a retired Vietnam veteran, goes on a cruise with his wife, Carolee, and comes back a hero for a brief time. Their nature walk is interrupted by thieves and Sten kills the leader in self-defense. Saddled with a son who is suffering from a mental disorder on top of being hounded by reporters itching to get a slice of his fame, Sten just wants to relax. Conflicts between his son and the rest of the characters only wear him out further. The connection holding his son Adam close to him is unraveling and Sten really has no idea how to stop it. Adam reunites with his former teacher, Sara, who is fifteen years his senior. Together, they traverse the novel in an awkward show of support. Sara is like any woman who wants to find love, yet Adam is the stark opposite. Where they connect is their mutual…show more content…
There is no doubt Adam believes his outlandish ideas, either. In fact, his character has a lot of potential. Unfortunately, the details surrounding his illness are generic and distract from the story rather than support it. Adam seems to have more perverted thoughts about sex than the "wheel" that is meant to represent his mental state. It is hard to have empathy for a sexual deviant if that is what Boyle is trying for. As the novel 's main source of conflict, Adam 's performance ends up being lack-luster, ending in a poof of dust rather than the resounding boom of an explosion the novel teases its readers with. A bit more polish to an otherwise driving character would be
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