The living conditions on San Miguel are brutal. The wind beats down on the islanders mercilessly; the housing is drafty and dirty. But it's the emotional environment that wears away at the characters, and Boyle shows them no mercy. He hits them with blow after blow, and all but assures them, and the reader, that there's nothing but more years filled with loneliness and despair to come. Only Elise has some sense of hope, but even that is on shaky ground, dependent on her husband's volatile temperament. Boyle appears as part of the Inprint Margarett Root Brown Reading Series today at 7:30 p.m.
Mon., Oct. 15, 7:30 p.m., 2012