T.C. Boyle is an American novelist and short story writer. Since the late 1970s, he has published 14 novels and 10 collections of short stories. He won the PEN/Faulkner award in 1988 for his novel World’s End and the Prix Médicis étranger for The Tortilla Curtain in 1995, as well as the 2014 Henry David Thoreau award for excellence in nature writing. He is a Distinguished Professor of English at the University of Southern California and lives in Santa Barbara.
One of my aides — Colin or Carter or Rutherford, I couldn’t keep their names straight — was telling a joke in dialect about three Mexican gardeners and an outhouse, another was spouting demographic theory, and the stewardess swished by with a smell of perfume that hit me like a twenty-one gun salute. It was then — out of a whirl of thoughts and impressions like cream whipped in a blender — that I had my moment of grace, of inspiration, the moment that moves mountains, solves for x, and makes a musical monument of the “Hymn to Joy,” the moment the mass of humankind lives an entire lifetime for and never experiences. “Of course,” I blurted, upending the salad I my excitement, “yes,” and I saw all the campaign trails of all the dreary, pavement-pounding, glad-handing years fall away beneath me like streamers from heaven, like tickertape, as I turned to kiss Lorna as if I were standing before the cheering hordes on Inauguration Day.