He lives and writes in Santa Barbara, but there is no more quintessentially “L.A.” novelist than T.C. Boyle, whose iconoclastic oeuvre plays like a John Galliano fashion show: stylish, satirical, elegant and heartbreaking at times, a fabulous but doomed parade of con men and gorgeous losers, where art and artifice are one and the same. Boyle’s critical hits (Drop City, The Inner Circle, The Road to Wellville) have by far outnumbered his misses (A Friend of the Earth), and even when reviewers hate him, his readers — they are legion — are always treated to an entertaining story (like the one about the marijuana farmer who keeps screwing up, or the one where Boyle retells Gogol’s “The Overcoat,” or the one where Dwight Eisenhower has a love affair with Nina Khrushcheva). On Monday, Boyle will read from his latest novel, Talk Talk, at a fund-raiser for local independent publisher Red Hen Press. This is also a week for books about food. Specifically, food as obsession. Food that bedevils, as in Aimee Liu’s memoir Gaining: The Truth About Life After Eating Disorders. And food as a veritable religion — rife with celebrity chefs, miracle diet plans, culinary false prophets and demon ingredients — which Barry Glassner debunks in The Gospel of Food: Everything You Think You Know About Food Is Wrong.
T.C. Boyle, Mon., April 16, 7 p.m.; Mark Taper Auditorium, 135 N. Grand Ave., dwntwn., $25-$40. (213) 628-2772. Aimee Liu, Thurs., April 19, 6:30 p.m.; Westwood Branch Library, 1246 Glendon Ave., Wstwd. (310) 474-1739. Barry Glassner in conversation with KCRW Good Food host Evan Kleiman as part of the ALOUD at Central Library Series, Tues., April 17, 7 p.m.; Mark Taper Auditorium, Fifth and Flower sts., dwntwn. (213) 228-7025 or www.aloudla.org.