Outside Looking In: Book summary and reviews of Outside Looking In by T.C. Boyle

Outside Looking In

by T.C. Boyle

Outside Looking In by T.C. Boyle X
Outside Looking In by T.C. Boyle
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  • Published Apr 2019
    400 pages
    Genre: Literary Fiction

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Book Summary

A provocative new novel from bestselling author T.C. Boyle exploring the first scientific and recreational forays into LSD and its mind-altering possibilities.

In this stirring and insightful novel, T.C. Boyle takes us back to the 1960s and to the early days of a drug whose effects have reverberated widely throughout our culture: LSD.

In 1943, LSD is synthesized in Basel. Two decades later, a coterie of grad students at Harvard are gradually drawn into the inner circle of renowned psychologist and psychedelic drug enthusiast Timothy Leary. Fitzhugh Loney, a psychology Ph.D. student and his wife, Joanie, become entranced by the drug's possibilities such that their "research" becomes less a matter of clinical trials and academic papers and instead turns into a free-wheeling exploration of mind expansion, group dynamics, and communal living. With his trademark humor and pathos, Boyle moves us through the Loneys' initiation at one of Leary's parties to his notorious summer seminars in Zihuatanejo until the Loneys' eventual expulsion from Harvard and their introduction to a communal arrangement of thirty devotees - students, wives, and children - living together in a sixty-four room mansion and devoting themselves to all kinds of experimentation and questioning.

Is LSD a belief system? Does it allow you to see God? Can the Loneys' marriage - or any marriage, for that matter - survive the chaotic and sometimes orgiastic use of psychedelic drugs? Wry, witty, and wise, Outside Looking In is an ideal subject for this American master, and highlights Boyle's acrobatic prose, detailed plots, and big ideas. It's an utterly engaging and occasionally trippy look at the nature of reality, identity, and consciousness, as well as our seemingly infinite capacities for creativity, re-invention, and self-discovery.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. While it may be hard to get behind many of the deeply flawed characters, there is much to learn and enjoy here, as Boyle takes us deep inside the lives of Leary and his convention-bashing acolytes, offering a brisk read that provides much food for thought. Boyle fans will enjoy." - Library Journal

"Starred Review. Keeping his own stylistic flamboyance in check, Boyle evokes a cultural flashpoint with implications that transcend acid flashbacks." - Kirkus

"Though it takes its time hitting its stride, Boyle's novel picks up momentum and is an evocative depiction of the early days of LSD." - Publishers Weekly

"Spellbinding...Boyle's latest work of countercultural, biographical fiction will lure his devotees and the newly curious alike." - Booklist

This information about Outside Looking In was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

T.C. Boyle Author Biography

T.Coraghessan Boyle is the author of twenty-eight books of fiction, including, most recently, After the Plague (2001), Drop City (2003), The Inner Circle (2004), Tooth and Claw (2005), The Human Fly (2005), Talk Talk (2006), The Women (2009), Wild Child (2010), When the Killing's Done (2011), San Miguel (2012), T.C. Boyle Stories II (2013), The Harder They Come (2015), The Terranauts (2016), The Relive Box (2017) and Outside Looking In (2019). He received a Ph.D. degree in Nineteenth Century British Literature from the University of Iowa in 1977, his M.F.A. from the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop in 1974, and his B.A. in English and History from SUNY Potsdam in 1968. He has been a member of the English Department at the University of Southern California since 1978, where he is ...

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