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T Coraghessan Boyle
'Wild Child: And Other Stories' by T.C. Boyle
'Wild Child: And Other Stories' by T.C. Boyle

Wild Child And Other Stories T. C. Boyle Viking: 320 pp., $25.95 In "Thirteen Hundred Rats," one of the 14 stories in the latest collection from the seemingly inexhaustible T.C. Boyle, a recent widower finds himself the owner of a python. He's allergic to cats and dogs, those more cuddly and condoned companions of the grief-stricken. But then something really unexpected happens. The white rat he's purchased for his new pet's sustenance proves unusually adept at eluding its fangs. The rodent's improbable athletic performance elicits astonishment, sympathy and, eventually, love. The widower spares the rat -- supple as suede, a tiny creature quivering with hope...