The Harder They Come



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The Harder They Come
T.C. Boyle

Based on a true story, this novel explores paranoia, ideological obsession, the damaged American psyche and the Sovereign citizen movement – a militant group of people who regard US laws and law enforcement as illegitimate. Set in contemporary Northern California, the narration follows Adam, the son of Vietnam veteran Sten Stenson and his much older girlfriend Sara Hovarty Jennings. Both Sara and Adam are psychologically unstable: While Sara, who is involved with a far-right group of anarchists, suffers from paranoia, her boyfriend Adam suffers from schizophrenia. Fed by Sara’s ideology and not receiving help from his father, Adam finally collapses, shoots two people and becomes the subject of a manhunt.

As the novel touches on ethical and political topics an interdisciplinary teaching project with Ethics, Politics and Social Science is possible. The intertextual reference between Boyle’s novel and the movie The Harder They Come (1972) by Perry Henzell and the reggae song of the same name (1972) by Jimmy Cliff could be explored further – and offers the opportunity for a teaching project with Music.

· · 2015

Critical edition

Boyle, T.C.. The Harder They Come. Ecco, 2015. 400 pp., ISBN 9780062349378

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  • Addresses current affairs
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