Tiger in a Trance by Max Ludington
A Novel

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Max Ludington has created a stunningly self-assured American road novel that captures the drug induced euphoria and paranoia of a Grateful Dead concert, while simultaneously probing the self-destructive tendencies of its head-strong protagonist.

Traveling around the country in his old Volvo following the Dead for over a year, eighteen-year-old Jason Burke discovers how much more lucrative selling acid is than selling T-shirts. Liberally dabbling in his product, his judgment gets cloudier and he starts snorting heroin and sleeping with his supplier’s girlfriend, a green-eyed beauty named Jane. Jason also meets Melanie, a rebellious one-armed high-school girl who’s youthful abandonment leads her deeper into the nomadic world of the Dead. And as his addiction takes hold, Jason reacquaints himself with an old friend of his late father’s who’s near the end of his days. While he struggles with the ghosts of his own past and his exceedingly tenuous future, Jason has to decide where his heart lies and which road will ultimately take him there.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

About Max Ludington

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Max Ludington’s fiction has appeared in such publications as Tin House, Nerve, and Meridian. He received his M.F.A. from Columbia University and now lives in New York. Tiger in a Trance is his first novel.
Published October 12, 2004 by Anchor. 400 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Tiger in a Trance

Kirkus Reviews

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In a narrative spanning the 1980s and ’90s, 18-year-old Deadhead Jason Burke, who as a youngster traveled the world from Bucharest to Beirut, now tours the country, sometimes solo and sometimes en posse, selling silk-screened T-shirts and acid blotters to fellow groupies at rock concerts.

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Publishers Weekly

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The rock material is solid and colorful—Ludington affectionately but unsentimentally captures the Dead scene—and the portrayal of Jason's addiction is haunting, especially when he abandons an old family friend who is dying and wanders into a seedy part of the Bay area in search of a score.

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Entertainment Weekly

Deadheads will form the initial queue for this startlingly good debut, a road book that follows a boarding-school dropout -- turned -- Ecstasy dealer who intermittently joins the movable feast that trailed Jerry Garcia & Co.

Aug 22 2003 | Read Full Review of Tiger in a Trance: A Novel

New York Magazine

his mother had her own period of youthful glamour and sexual freedom (Jason’s father stole her from his best friend, Harry, who’s now a rich, avuncular, cynical presence in Jason’s life).

Feb 05 2013 | Read Full Review of Tiger in a Trance: A Novel

News Review.

Calling all Dead tour-heads who know the hard-earned meaning of “a long strange trip”—this book is your On the Road.

Oct 23 2003 | Read Full Review of Tiger in a Trance: A Novel

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