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1 Hawthorne Literature- A to Z

The Inner Circle: A Novel

by

The Inner Circle: A Novel Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Fresh on the heels of his New York Times bestselling and National Book Award-nominated novel, Drop City, T.C. Boyle has spun an even more dazzling tale that will delight both his longtime devotees and a legion of new fans. Boyle?s tenth novel, The Inner Circle has it all: fabulous characters, a rollicking plot, and more sex than pioneering researcher Dr. Alfred Kinsey ever dreamed of documenting...well, almost.

A love story, The Inner Circle is narrated by John Milk, a virginal young man who in 1940 accepts a job as an assistant to Dr. Alfred Kinsey, an extraordinarily charming professor of zoology at Indiana University who has just discovered his life?s true calling: sex. As a member of Kinsey?s "inner circle" of researchers, Milk (and his beautiful new wife) is called on to participate in sexual experiments that become increasingly uninhibited — and problematic for his marriage. For in his later years Kinsey (who behind closed doors is a sexual enthusiast of the first order) ever more recklessly pushed the boundaries both personally and professionally.

While Boyle doesn?t resist making the most of this delicious material, The Inner Circle is at heart a very moving and very loving look at sex, marriage, and jealousy that will have readers everywhere reassessing their own relationships — because, in the end, "love is all there is."

Review:

"Released in the late 1940s and early '50s, the Kinsey Reports, the compilations of a scientific study that attempted to quantify male and female sexual behavior, shocked Americans with revelations about their sexuality. Indiana University professor Alfred Kinsey's obsessive belief that the human need for sex is little different from animal instinct, and his iconoclastic research methods (including voyeurism and personal interactions), make Kinsey (called "Prok" by students and intimates) a fitting subject for Boyle's (Drop City) irrepressible imagination. In this provocative fictional reconstruction of Kinsey's influence on sexual and societal mores, Boyle's narrator is John Milk, a naïve undergraduate at IU when he becomes Prok' s assistant, the first of the eventual "inner circle" of dedicated disciples. The irony and the drama of this mesmerizing novel lie in Milk's unquestioning acceptance of his idol's demands, and the gradual moral corruption that ensues from such occupational obligations as serving as Kinsey's partner in homosexual sex while also bedding Prok's compliant wife and eventually offering his own wife in group sex activities. Boyle's narrative brio accelerates as other members of the inner circle and their wives respond to Kinsey's manipulative charisma, while the professor's increasingly uninhibited and egotistical demands test the bonds of marital fidelity. If Milk's unwavering idealism begins to seem unlikely and his recognition of the spiritual emptiness of mechanistic sex and the damage to his marriage is a little late in coming, Boyle nonetheless maintains his mix of irony and emotional fidelity with buoyant wit. In the end, the novel can be read as a case study of the price paid by ordinary human beings when they become the apostles to men of genius." Publishers Weekly

Review:

"This robust, impassioned novel, Boyle's tenth, opens with two epigraphs. One is from Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra; the other is from Alfred C. Kinsey's Sexual Behavior in the Human Female. The contrast is clear — this is a book about two kinds of sex: the amorous and the clinical. For Kinsey, the real-life biologist dubbed “Dr. Sex,” coitus has nothing to do with love; it's an act to be enjoyed by everyone, with everyone. John Milk, the original member of Kinsey's fictional research team, tries doggedly to follow his guru's doctrine, but love keeps getting in the way — love for his feisty and unyielding wife, Iris; for Kinsey's wife, Mac, to whom Milk loses his virginity; and for Kinsey himself, whose appetite for sex becomes disturbingly indiscriminate. This dynamic, ripe with the requisite seductions, betrayals, and bruised egos, is an engrossing one, and although the book only occasionally indulges in the graphic, the experience of reading it is inevitably voyeuristic. For all of the novel's scandals and threats, however, the stakes don't change much, and they don't run very high. Sex and love remain symbiotic for Milk and separate for Kinsey, and somehow the dispute never endangers the pair's friendship, or “the research.” This forced sense of accord is closely bound to the novel's first-person point of view. Milk has the unwieldy job of narrating seventeen years of history from the perspective of 1956, after Kinsey has died; his stance becomes one of both homage to his beloved mentor and a timid record of his own objections. Compared to the rich panorama of voices in Boyle's last novel, Drop City (Viking, 2003), Milk's overblown outlook and naïve buoyancy are nothing less than exasperating. But readers who have fallen in the past for Boyle's boisterous language, his animated characters, his absurd and impeccably crafted scenes, will not be disappointed. At one point in the Inner Circle's travels, the group observes the engagements of a prostitute from behind the precarious secrecy of a hanging sheet, and readers will end up in the same position, absorbed despite themselves." Reviewed by Eleanor Henderson, Virginia Quarterly Review (Copyright 2006 Virginia Quarterly Review)

Review:

"Kinsey is in some ways a perfect subject for this sly and intrepid novelist...while Boyle is fascinated by the zealous energy of perfectionists like Kinsey, he is at bottom a defender of romance against the tyranny of reason." The New York Times Book Review

Review:

"The Inner Circle may draw readers because of its sexy subject matter, but they will stay for the emotional punch of Boyle?s meditations on love, marriage, and jealousy." The San Francisco Chronicle

Review:

"Terrific...Circle?s hero is smart, commonsensical Iris, who understands that Kinsey?s mechanistic views of sex fails to account for love, jealousy, and human nature." Entertainment Weekly

Review:

"The Inner Circle is a harrowing depiction of how questionable are some of the consequences of sexual liberation?that the novel is a page-turner, with lots of sex in it, only serves Boyle?s purpose all the better." The Washington Post

Review:

"T.C. Boyle has taken a subject that remains on the cutting edge, and out of it created an old-fashioned engrossing novel." San Antonio Express-News

Review:

"[Boyle's] talents for structure and pacing make the book eminently readable — as does his glorious sense of bawdy humor, which provides many laugh-out-loud moments." Dallas-Ft. Worth Star Telegram

Review:

"A vastly entertaining tale that balances the exuberance and the excesses...perhaps better than any other work of American fiction." Los Angeles Book Review

Review:

"Compelling and subtly humorous...a biting satire of emotional manipulation, sexual indiscretion, and scientific hubris." The Boston Globe

Review:

"Strong writing on emotional entanglements, good and bad, abounds in The Inner Circle" Chicago Tribune

Review:

"It's an occasionally erotic, but mostly sordid, tale, one that suits this author perfectly, as no writer charts the madness of brilliant minds better....[The Inner Circle] has an emotional core that this novelist has never before achieved." Charlotte Observer

Review:

"The Inner Circle is a stunning tour-de-force by one of our most gifted novelists. Readers will be alternatively intrigued, shocked and put off by the book, but few will put it down." Denver Post

Review:

"We read on, with quickened breaths, feeling increasingly excited ? and soiled. Boyle turns his readers into voyeurs....I couldn't stop reading The Inner Circle, for it possesses, to adopt an old phrase, 'the fascination of the abomination.'" Washington Post

Synopsis:

Fresh on the heels of his bestselling Drop City, Boyle's tenth novel features fabulous characters, a rollicking plot, and more sex than pioneering researcher Dr. Alfred Kinsey ever dreamed of documenting — or almost.

Synopsis:

Fresh on the heels of his New York Times bestselling and National Book Award-nominated novel, Drop City, T.C. Boyle has spun an even more dazzling tale that will delight both his longtime devotees and a legion of new fans. Boyle’s tenth novel, The Inner Circle has it all: fabulous characters, a rollicking plot, and more sex than pioneering researcher Dr. Alfred Kinsey ever dreamed of documenting . . . well, almost.

A love story, The Inner Circle is narrated by John Milk, a virginal young man who in 1940 accepts a job as an assistant to Dr. Alfred Kinsey, an extraordinarily charming professor of zoology at Indiana University who has just discovered hislife’s true calling: sex. As a member of Kinsey’s “inner circle” of researchers, Milk (and his beautiful new wife) is called on to participate in sexual experiments that become increasingly uninhibited—and problematic for his marriage. For in his later years Kinsey (who behind closed doors is a sexual enthusiast of the first order) ever more recklessly pushed the boundaries both personally and professionally.

While Boyle doesn’t resist making the most of this delicious material, The Inner Circle is at heart a very moving and very loving look at sex, marriage, and jealousy that will have readers everywhere reassessing their own relationships—because, in the end, “love is all there is.”

Synopsis:

Fresh on the heels of his New York Times bestselling and National Book Award-nominated novel, Drop City, T.C. Boyle has spun an even more dazzling tale that will delight both his longtime devotees and a legion of new fans. Boyle’s tenth novel, The Inner Circle has it all: fabulous characters, a rollicking plot, and more sex than pioneering researcher Dr. Alfred Kinsey ever dreamed of documenting . . . well, almost.

A love story, The Inner Circle is narrated by John Milk, a virginal young man who in 1940 accepts a job as an assistant to Dr. Alfred Kinsey, an extraordinarily charming professor of zoology at Indiana University who has just discovered hislife’s true calling: sex. As a member of Kinsey’s “inner circle” of researchers, Milk (and his beautiful new wife) is called on to participate in sexual experiments that become increasingly uninhibited—and problematic for his marriage. For in his later years Kinsey (who behind closed doors is a sexual enthusiast of the first order) ever more recklessly pushed the boundaries both personally and professionally.

While Boyle doesn’t resist making the most of this delicious material, The Inner Circle is at heart a very moving and very loving look at sex, marriage, and jealousy that will have readers everywhere reassessing their own relationships—because, in the end, “love is all there is.”

About the Author

T.C. Boyle has written nine novels and has published six collections of short fiction. He received the PEN/Faulkner Award for his novel World?s End and the PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in Short Fiction. His stories appear regularly in The New Yorker, GQ, Esquire, and Playboy.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780143035862
Author:
Boyle, T. C.
Publisher:
Penguin Books
Author:
Boyle, T. Coraghessan
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Sex
Subject:
Research
Subject:
Biographical fiction
Subject:
Kinsey, Alfred C - Friends and associates
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Paperback / softback
Publication Date:
August 30, 2005
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
from 12
Language:
English
Pages:
432
Dimensions:
7.74x5.06x.78 in. .64 lbs.
Age Level:
from 18

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

The Inner Circle: A Novel Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$6.95 In Stock
Product details 432 pages Penguin Books - English 9780143035862 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Released in the late 1940s and early '50s, the Kinsey Reports, the compilations of a scientific study that attempted to quantify male and female sexual behavior, shocked Americans with revelations about their sexuality. Indiana University professor Alfred Kinsey's obsessive belief that the human need for sex is little different from animal instinct, and his iconoclastic research methods (including voyeurism and personal interactions), make Kinsey (called "Prok" by students and intimates) a fitting subject for Boyle's (Drop City) irrepressible imagination. In this provocative fictional reconstruction of Kinsey's influence on sexual and societal mores, Boyle's narrator is John Milk, a naïve undergraduate at IU when he becomes Prok' s assistant, the first of the eventual "inner circle" of dedicated disciples. The irony and the drama of this mesmerizing novel lie in Milk's unquestioning acceptance of his idol's demands, and the gradual moral corruption that ensues from such occupational obligations as serving as Kinsey's partner in homosexual sex while also bedding Prok's compliant wife and eventually offering his own wife in group sex activities. Boyle's narrative brio accelerates as other members of the inner circle and their wives respond to Kinsey's manipulative charisma, while the professor's increasingly uninhibited and egotistical demands test the bonds of marital fidelity. If Milk's unwavering idealism begins to seem unlikely and his recognition of the spiritual emptiness of mechanistic sex and the damage to his marriage is a little late in coming, Boyle nonetheless maintains his mix of irony and emotional fidelity with buoyant wit. In the end, the novel can be read as a case study of the price paid by ordinary human beings when they become the apostles to men of genius." Publishers Weekly
"Review" by , "Kinsey is in some ways a perfect subject for this sly and intrepid novelist...while Boyle is fascinated by the zealous energy of perfectionists like Kinsey, he is at bottom a defender of romance against the tyranny of reason."
"Review" by , "The Inner Circle may draw readers because of its sexy subject matter, but they will stay for the emotional punch of Boyle?s meditations on love, marriage, and jealousy."
"Review" by , "Terrific...Circle?s hero is smart, commonsensical Iris, who understands that Kinsey?s mechanistic views of sex fails to account for love, jealousy, and human nature."
"Review" by , "The Inner Circle is a harrowing depiction of how questionable are some of the consequences of sexual liberation?that the novel is a page-turner, with lots of sex in it, only serves Boyle?s purpose all the better."
"Review" by , "T.C. Boyle has taken a subject that remains on the cutting edge, and out of it created an old-fashioned engrossing novel."
"Review" by , "[Boyle's] talents for structure and pacing make the book eminently readable — as does his glorious sense of bawdy humor, which provides many laugh-out-loud moments."
"Review" by , "A vastly entertaining tale that balances the exuberance and the excesses...perhaps better than any other work of American fiction."
"Review" by , "Compelling and subtly humorous...a biting satire of emotional manipulation, sexual indiscretion, and scientific hubris."
"Review" by , "Strong writing on emotional entanglements, good and bad, abounds in The Inner Circle"
"Review" by , "It's an occasionally erotic, but mostly sordid, tale, one that suits this author perfectly, as no writer charts the madness of brilliant minds better....[The Inner Circle] has an emotional core that this novelist has never before achieved."
"Review" by , "The Inner Circle is a stunning tour-de-force by one of our most gifted novelists. Readers will be alternatively intrigued, shocked and put off by the book, but few will put it down."
"Review" by , "We read on, with quickened breaths, feeling increasingly excited ? and soiled. Boyle turns his readers into voyeurs....I couldn't stop reading The Inner Circle, for it possesses, to adopt an old phrase, 'the fascination of the abomination.'"
"Synopsis" by , Fresh on the heels of his bestselling Drop City, Boyle's tenth novel features fabulous characters, a rollicking plot, and more sex than pioneering researcher Dr. Alfred Kinsey ever dreamed of documenting — or almost.
"Synopsis" by ,

Fresh on the heels of his New York Times bestselling and National Book Award-nominated novel, Drop City, T.C. Boyle has spun an even more dazzling tale that will delight both his longtime devotees and a legion of new fans. Boyle’s tenth novel, The Inner Circle has it all: fabulous characters, a rollicking plot, and more sex than pioneering researcher Dr. Alfred Kinsey ever dreamed of documenting . . . well, almost.

A love story, The Inner Circle is narrated by John Milk, a virginal young man who in 1940 accepts a job as an assistant to Dr. Alfred Kinsey, an extraordinarily charming professor of zoology at Indiana University who has just discovered hislife’s true calling: sex. As a member of Kinsey’s “inner circle” of researchers, Milk (and his beautiful new wife) is called on to participate in sexual experiments that become increasingly uninhibited—and problematic for his marriage. For in his later years Kinsey (who behind closed doors is a sexual enthusiast of the first order) ever more recklessly pushed the boundaries both personally and professionally.

While Boyle doesn’t resist making the most of this delicious material, The Inner Circle is at heart a very moving and very loving look at sex, marriage, and jealousy that will have readers everywhere reassessing their own relationships—because, in the end, “love is all there is.”

"Synopsis" by ,

Fresh on the heels of his New York Times bestselling and National Book Award-nominated novel, Drop City, T.C. Boyle has spun an even more dazzling tale that will delight both his longtime devotees and a legion of new fans. Boyle’s tenth novel, The Inner Circle has it all: fabulous characters, a rollicking plot, and more sex than pioneering researcher Dr. Alfred Kinsey ever dreamed of documenting . . . well, almost.

A love story, The Inner Circle is narrated by John Milk, a virginal young man who in 1940 accepts a job as an assistant to Dr. Alfred Kinsey, an extraordinarily charming professor of zoology at Indiana University who has just discovered hislife’s true calling: sex. As a member of Kinsey’s “inner circle” of researchers, Milk (and his beautiful new wife) is called on to participate in sexual experiments that become increasingly uninhibited—and problematic for his marriage. For in his later years Kinsey (who behind closed doors is a sexual enthusiast of the first order) ever more recklessly pushed the boundaries both personally and professionally.

While Boyle doesn’t resist making the most of this delicious material, The Inner Circle is at heart a very moving and very loving look at sex, marriage, and jealousy that will have readers everywhere reassessing their own relationships—because, in the end, “love is all there is.”

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