The Inner Circle
T.C. Boyle
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Little Children
T.C. Boyle
432 pages
August 2005
rated 4 of 5 possible stars

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During the 1940s, Dr. Alfred Kinsey explored the myths, legends, and truths about sex by interviewing thousands of subjects on their unique habits. Some six decades later, T. Coraghessan Boyle has resurrected the spectre of the infamous researcher, mixing and matching fact with his own fanciful fiction, and has created a wonderful war-weary world full of promise and passion.

What makes this, as well as his previous work Drop City, a lengthy epitaph to the de-evolution of the Hippie Myth, such a pleasurable experience to read is the author's ability to create mythical figures in helping us to understand the main narrative. Here, John Milk, a made-up character and Kinsey's right-hand man, relates the story of the professor and his search for the ultimate sexual enlightening.

But really what we're experiencing is a love story between Milk and his wife Iris, two young people caught up in the imbroglio of the war and their own inability to come to terms with human sexuality.

Boyle is a master here, delivering up a novel about sex without resorting to cheap verbal fusillades or obvious contretemps. His best in a very long time.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at Steven Rosen, 2004

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