Do art and politics belong together? It's an old debate that
still raises hackles in the contemporary art scene. Does tackling
politics somehow lessen the value of a work of art? Absolutely not,
says T. Coraghessan Boyle, a prolific author who has won numerous
awards and fellowships, including the PEN/Faulkner Award and a
In a recent interview with Marilyn Bauer of Environmental News Network, Boyle talks about his latest novel, A Friend of the Earth, which takes an unapologetic look at the negative impact of environmental trends. The book, set partly in the year 2025, depicts a world ravaged by global warming, harvested forests, and a ballooning human population.
'I'm just having some black fun with who we are now,' Boyle offers, 'but projecting it a little into the future--all the habitat and loss of creatures, the destruction of the forests and the denuding of the oceans.'
For the real world, Boyle predicts nothing short of an ecological Armageddon. 'No matter what we do it's over,' he says. 'I don't think it's going to happen in 25 years. It will be a degradation of everything that makes life worth living. It's not going to be Mad Max and a bunch of dirt and people fighting tattooed gangs for gas. Fifty years from now there will be a lot fewer things left and a lot more mini-malls if the whole thing doesn't collapse entirely.'
Although his comments display an almost nihilistic attitude toward the ecosystem, Boyle becomes quite emotional about the deterioration of the environment. 'I've been depressed for years,' he reveals. 'When I go on tour, we don't have Q & As anymore. Now we pass out hankies, cry and go home.'