The Inner Circle by T.C. Boyle

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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 T.C. Boyle

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T. C. Boyle is the author of eleven novels, including World's End (winner of the PEN/FaulknerAward), Drop City (a New York Times bestseller and finalist for the National Book Award), and The Inner Circle. His most recent story collections are Tooth and Claw and The Human Fly and Other Stories.
Published August 30, 2005 by Penguin Books. 429 pages
Genres: Romance, Literature & Fiction, History, Biographies & Memoirs, Humor & Entertainment, Erotica. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Inner Circle

Kirkus Reviews

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The career of sex researcher Alfred C. Kinsey, as seen in Boyle's rangy, entertaining tenth novel--which bears a strong resemblance to his 1993 blockbuster, The Road to Wellville.

May 20 2010 | Read Full Review of The Inner Circle

The New York Times

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Kinsey's ''Sexual Behavior in the Human Male.'' Of course, the transformation of public attitudes and private behavior is not something that can be punctually dated -- that was Larkin's point -- but the Kinsey Report, as it came to be known, surely marked a watershed in a century-long assault on ...

Sep 19 2004 | Read Full Review of The Inner Circle

The Guardian

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Our narrator is the fictional John Milk - only Prok and his wife Mac are based on real people - a shy literature student who stumbles into his role as Prok's protege.

Feb 13 2005 | Read Full Review of The Inner Circle

The Guardian

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The Inner Circle by TC Boyle 432pp, Bloomsbury, £16.99 The Inner Circle can be seen as a companion piece to Tom Wolfe's vastly inferior novel, I Am Charlotte Simmons.

Feb 12 2005 | Read Full Review of The Inner Circle

BC Books

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Such accusations as "corrupter of morals," "pseudoscientific snoop," "libeler of womankind" and "communist" (the all-purpose, no-muss no-fuss standby for the times) damned Kinsey at the same time he was being blessed with best-seller-dom.

Dec 14 2005 | Read Full Review of The Inner Circle

Book Reporter

They become involved in a sexual relationship, and soon after that, Milk becomes involved with Kinsey's wife, Mac --- with Kinsey's consent and even encouragement.

Jan 22 2011 | Read Full Review of The Inner Circle

AV Club

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Like Drop City, Boyle's superb, affectionate 2003 critique of commune living, The Inner Circle dredges up respect for its subject, but Boyle understands the human animal well enough to know the consequences of putting Kinsey's radical ideas into practice.

Oct 18 2004 | Read Full Review of The Inner Circle

Entertainment Weekly

''I mean, doesn't that strike you as trivial?'' But little seems trivial to the good sex soldier Milk, even filming a thousand men as they masturbate on a tarp to determine how many ''dribbled'' and how many ''spurt.'' Though it takes a while to figure this out, ''Circle'''s hero is smart,...

Sep 10 2004 | Read Full Review of The Inner Circle


Under the tutelage of Prok, Milk becomes the initial member of “the inner circle” and takes up relations with the professor’s wife, Mac, in deference to the project.

Mar 22 2005 | Read Full Review of The Inner Circle

Project MUSE

Boyle has opted not to skewer Kinsey, and Milk's insipid objectivity makes it tough to get a lock on Kinsey's enigmatic personality.

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News Review.

Written with great narrative skill, this biographical novel focuses on Dr. Alfred Kinsey, a charismatic, sexually obsessed zoologist who entered history and infamy when he switched the focus of his research from the reproductive cycle of gall wasps to the sexual physiology of ‘the human animal” i...

Jan 20 2005 | Read Full Review of The Inner Circle


Narrated by Kinsey's first research assistant, the fictional John Milk, The Inner Circle follows Kinsey from his early years as an obscure zoology professor at Indiana University to his later years as a highly controversial international sex celebrity.

Oct 07 2004 | Read Full Review of The Inner Circle

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