dilluns, 29 de desembre de 2014

A Friend of the Earth is A FRIEND IN NEED IS BEST CONSIDERED DA GAMA ENEMY.......Pleasure, I remind myself, is inseparable from its lawfully wedded mate, pain is quite different from many environmentally- or eco-based novels I've read. While some of the normal dystopian scenarios are in place, and the author in his own way lets his readers know that there is little to no hope for the future, it also makes you laugh as Mr. Boyle puts irony ahead of heavy-handedness or preaching -- since, as the main character notes, it's much too late for that. It's 2025, and Tyrone (Ty) Tierwater works as the caretaker of a private collection of animals. Ty, in his 70s, has a good gig working for a millionaire pop star who's been trying to save some of the last critically-endangered animals before they're gone for good. As a result of global warming and the collapse of the biosphere, these days, floods, rain, heat and nightmarish winds are the norm. Ty lives a simple life, taking care of the animals and then going out for the occasional drink of sake, but that all changes when one day, without warning, his ex-wife Andrea shows up with news that a writer is interested in penning the story of their daughter Sierra. But it's not the only reason she's there -- she has plans to restart Earth Forever!, the environmental-activism group they were part of in the past, "for the survivors." Andrea's return is what prompts the story of Ty's former days as a monkeywrenching member of the group, complete with berets, raised fists and acts of ecotage, at a time when "to be a friend of the earth, you have to be an enemy of the people. Due to habitat loss, many animal species have become extinct, but also the flora has considerably suffered. Many foods, including beef, eggs, beer, etc., are no longer readily available. Instead, rice is grown everywhere, and sake is the only alcoholic beverage available. Other vegetables are grown in domed fields. El Niño has become an everyday companion of the inhabitants of the United States: strong winds are continuously blowing, and there is heavy rainfall for several months every year. In the dry season, it is unbearably hot. Helpful medicines have been found in the rainforest, including cures for cancer. Deforestation has occurred for two reasons: (a) the storms, which have uprooted whole forests; and, (b) the timber industry's limitless destruction of primeval forests all over the world, including the tropical rainforest. On top of it all, modern science has invented many artificial ways to prolong human life (for example, there are TV ads for organ transplants), and longevity among humans is now a fact with life expectancy having climbed to over the 100-year mark. Consequently, the world is massively overpopulated. In the U.S.A., what used to be unspoiled nature is now residential areas, with condominiums having sprung up everywhere. Inside these condos, people who do not care about the environment live their lives in front of their computers and televisions. At no point in the novel does Boyle enter into a discussion of the political situation, but there are various hints hidden in the text which tell us that the social security system has crumbled and that many older Americans are left to their own devices, without a regular income, many of them seemingly even without a roof over their heads. Plot summary[edit] A Friend of the Earth is the story of Tyrone O'Shaughnessy Tierwater, a U.S. citizen born in 1950, half Irish Catholic and half Jewish ("I'm a mess and I know it. Jewish guilt, Catholic guilt, enviro-eco-capitalistico guilt: I can't even expel gas in peace."), whose personal tragedy fits in with, and adds to, the gloomy atmosphere created in the novel. Egged on by Andrea, the woman he loves, he becomes a committed "Earth Forever!" activist (an allusion to the radical environmental group Earth First!) in the 1980s, is imprisoned for ecotage, but eventually cannot change anything. On top of that, he suffers the loss of his first wife when their daughter is only three and of his daughter when she is only 25. When the novel opens, Tierwater is a 75-year-old disillusioned ex-con living on the estate of a famous pop star in the Santa Ynez Valley, north of Santa Barbara, in California and looking after the latter's private menagerie. Maclovio Pulchris, the singer, has had the idea of preserving some of the last surviving animals of several species in order to initiate a captive breeding programme at some later point in time, choosing to preserve the animals no-one else would. Tierwater has been working for Pulchris ("Mac") for ten years when, in 2025, Andrea, his ex-wife and stepmother to his daughter Sierra, contacts him after more than 20 years. She and a friend of hers, April Wind, move in with Tierwater, officially for April Wind to write a biography, or rather hagiography, of Sierra Tierwater, his daughter, who died in 2001 as a martyr to the environmentalist cause. (A "tree-hugging cunt", as their opponents called her, she falls off a tree in old growth woodland in which she has been living for about three years.) In the course of the next few months the situation deteriorates even more. The rain and the wind destroy the animals' cages, and subsequently they have to be kept in Pulchris's basement. One morning one of the lions gets loose and attacks and kills the singer, as well as a number of employees. As a consequence, the other lions are shot—and thus lions as a species become extinct. (There is just one surviving lion in the San Diego Zoo left.) Jobless and penniless, Tierwater, who has fallen in love all over again with Andrea, is evicted from the estate by Pulchris's heirs. Along with Andrea, Tyrone leaves the compound, heading for a mountain cabin owned by Earth Forever! somewhere in the forest which decades ago served as a hideout. They arrive there with only one of Pulchris's animals in tow: Petunia, the Patagonian fox, which they now keep as their domestic animal, passing it off as their dog. In the final scene of the book, a teenaged girl comes hiking along the trail where the forest surrounding the dilapidated cabin would have been. Tierwater and Andrea, who again call themselves husband and wife now, have a glimmer of hope that life will soon be like life 300 years or 3000 years before or after

its premise of near-future ecological collapse feels relevant and laudable--but the prose is so lazily executed that it begins to feel like an insult. The book is full of cheap narrative gambits and inexact metaphors and faux-ominous filler of this sort: "He doesn't like this. He doesn't like it at all." Or, much worse: "Because I'm bored. Because I've got nothing to lose. Because I know I can put the brakes on if I have to. Roll with it. Ride your pony. Oh, yes, indeed."

Perhaps worse than the prose is the light-hipsterish tone that dominates the novel and implies that none of its content is ultimately very serious. Even the most catastrophic details and events of Boyle's dystopia lack reality and weight. Boyle has an inability not to be wry except in the most shocking moments, and those moments don't work because nothing that precedes them has taught the reader that seriousness will be possible in this book. Like Vonnegut, Boyle is slightly making fun of everything in his narrative, a smart-ass, self-insulating tactic 

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