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Authors: T.C. Boyle

The Road to Wellville

BOOK: The Road to Wellville
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Critics feast on
The Road to Wellville

“Boyle thrives on our aspirational mania in all its forms…. With each new book it becomes harder to resist the confidence and exuberance of his style, the boldness of his reach.”


Los Angeles Times Book Review

“A fascinating slice of Americana,
The Road to Wellville
is a classic tale of dreams doomed and renewed, love lost and regained, as well as the evils of dyspepsia, the horrors of autointoxication, the nightmares of neuralgia and the the tribulations of the alimentary canal.”


The Dallas Morning News

“Boyle’s book has all the nifty plot twists of a spacious John Irving novel, and it is on fire with historical detail…. Boyle proves he still has the gloriously perverse knack of persuading you to laugh at the most disgusting moments.”


Vogue

“Rarely has so much suffering produced so much fun … Boyle creates his characters with great Dickensian glee.”


New York Newsday

“Funny, thoughtful, immaculately written … [Boyle] eviscerates the gullible pilgrims and conniving hucksters who rubbed shoulders in turn-of-the-century Battle Creek.”


Newsweek

“Boyle’s send-up of dietary fanaticism cleverly reminds us of the extremes to which Americans will go in pursuit of perfection.”


Glamour

“As in brilliant previous books like
East is East
and
World’s End
, Boyle brings to bear a dazzling writing style, erudition and sly humor in telling this strange tale of greed, power and kooky obsession.”


Detroit Monthly

“Boyle doesn’t miss a single hilarious shot…. [
The Road to Wellville
] establishes him at the top of his literary game…. Boyle has a genius for envisioning his scenes in such delicious detail and for presenting his characters with such subtle insight.”


Playboy

“Reading
The Road to Wellville
is like ducking gobs of mashed potatoes—there’s the exhilarating sound of language whizzing overhead.”


The Washington Post Book World

“Boyle is a brilliant imp, a trickster of the highest order…. In
The Road to Wellville
, his rich and mind-bendingly delightful language explodes with the early 20th century’s passion for invention, even as he subtly reveals the depth and tragicomedy of the failure of the American dream.”


St. Petersburg Times


The Road to Wellville
is an old-fashioned, generous book, rich in anecdote, plot, and character, rooted thoroughly in its time and place, even as it winks slyly at the modern reader.”


Chicago Tribune

“An extraordinarily good book … Boyle has told us something about the human condition.”


The Milwaukee Journal

“In T. C. Boyle’s meticulously crafted, wildly comic new novel, the American obsession of self-improvement through right-thinking and purification is brilliantly, engagingly,
irresistibly
savaged.”


The San Diego Union-Tribune

PENGUIN BOOKS

THE ROAD TO WELLVILLE

T. C. Boyle is the author of
The Inner Circle, Drop City
(a finalist for the National Book Award),
A Friend of the Earth, Riven Rock, The Tortilla Curtain, The Road to Wellville, East Is East, World’s End
(winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award),
Budding Prospects, Water Music
, and seven collections of stories. In 1999, he was the recipient of the PEN/ Malamud Award for Excellence in Short Fiction. His stories appear regularly in major American magazines, including
The New Yorker
, GQ,
Esquire
, and
Playboy.
He lives near Santa Barbara, California. T. C. Boyle’s Web site is
www.tcboyle.com
.

The
Road To
Wellville

T. Coraghessan Boyle

PENGUIN BOOKS

PENGUIN BOOKS

Published by the Penguin Group

Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, U.S.A.

Penguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700, Toronto,

Ontario, Canada M4P 2Y3 (a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.)

Penguin Books Ltd, 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England

Penguin Ireland, 25 St Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2, Ireland (a division of Penguin Books Ltd)

Penguin Group (Australia), 250 Camberwell Road, Camberwell,

Victoria 3124, Australia (a division of Pearson Australia Group Pty Ltd)

Penguin Books India Pvt Ltd, 11 Community Centre, Panchsheel Park,

New Delhi – 110 017, India

Penguin Group (NZ), 67 Apollo Drive, Rosedale, North Shore 0632, New Zealand

(a division of Pearson New Zealand Ltd)

Penguin Books (South Africa) (Pty) Ltd, 24 Sturdee Avenue,

Rosebank, Johannesburg 2196, South Africa

Penguin Books Ltd, Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England

Published in the United States of America by Viking Penguin,

a division of Penguin Books USA Inc., 1993

Published in Penguin Books 1994

23  25  27  29  30  28  26  24

Copyright © T. Coraghessan Boyle, 1993

All rights reserved

A signed first edition of this book has been privately printed by

The Franklin Library.

THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS HAS CATALOGUED THE HARDCOVER AS FOLLOWS:

Boyle, T. Coraghessan.

Road to Wellville: a novel/T. Coraghessan Boyle

p. cm.

ISBN: 978-1-101-64026-5

I. Title.

PS3552.O932R63  1992

813′.54—dc20   92-50731

Printed in the United States of America

Set in Goudy Old Style

Designed by Brian Mulligan

Except in the United States of America, this book is sold subject to the condition that it shall not, by way of trade or otherwise, be lent, resold, hired out, or otherwise circulated without the publisher’s prior consent in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition including this condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser.

The scanning, uploading and distribution of this book via the Internet or via any other means without the permission of the publisher is illegal and punishable by law. Please purchase only authorized electronic editions, and do not participate in or encourage electronic piracy of copyrighted materials. Your support of the author’s rights is appreciated.

Rosemary Post
1923–1981

Acknowledgments

Two texts were indispensable in inspiring and informing this novel—
Cornflake Crusade
, by Gerald Carson, and
The Nuts Among the Berries
, by Ronald M. Deutsch—and I am indebted to their authors. I would also like to thank Kevin McCarey, James Kaufman, Janet Griffin, Gordon Dale, and the staff of the Charles Willard Memorial Library in Battle Creek, Michigan, for their assistance.

Contents

PART I: DIAGNOSIS

  
1. Of Steak and Sin

  
2. Scavengers of the Sea

  
3. Sears’ White Star Liquor Cure

  
4. Father to All, Father to None

  
5. The Civilized Bowel

  
6. The Biggest Little City in the U.S.A.

  
7. Symptomitis

  
8. Changing the Flora

  
9. Per-Fo

10. A Thankful Bird

PART II: THERAPEUSIS

  
1. ’Tis the Season

  
2. The Baser Appetites

  
3. Cold in the Middle

  
4. The Advertising Game

  
5. Kellogg’s Kink

  
6. From Humble Beginnings

  
7. Organized Rest Without Ennui

  
8. Groundhog Day

PART III: PROGNOSIS

  
1. Questions, Questions, Questions

  
2. The Letter and the Note

  
3.
Freikorper Kultur

  
4. Rigid Control and Other Matters

  
5. The Per-Fo Factory

  
6. A Sword of Fire

  
7. Goguac Lake

  
8. The Fatal Luncheon

  
9. Fireworks

10. Decoration Day

CODA

Life is a temporary victory over the causes which induce death.

—Sylvester Graham,
A Lecture on Epidemic Diseases

   
Chapter 1   
BOOK: The Road to Wellville
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