In his latest work Outside Looking In, T.C. Boyle shows us the two sides of LSD very vividly. He may be the first writer who tried to describe what Albert Hofmann, the „inventor“ of the drug, might have felt during his first trip:
„Table legs. The antimacassar on the chair. The end table, the telephone, my shoes! Everything has a life of its own totally independent of us and I never knew it, never even imagined it, because I`ve had my head down my entire life, my nose in books, in beakers, peering through microscopes at a busy universe […]“
When you`re enjoying the good side of a thing, you have to be aware that the bad side just lies around the corner, and it only takes a small change in perspective to see it:
Things began to move, but in no delicate way, not the way it`d been the last time, but violently, in screaming ribbons of color, all of it slicing at him till everything visible was sucked down inside him in a free fall that would not and could not end. […] He was all mind and his mind was a very rough customer, pounding his consciousness into submission, stingy with the glory, stingier with the heights, showing only what he`d suppressed all his life for the very good and excellent reason that to see it, know it, feel it in his innermost being, would destroy him.
Boyle`s new novel is a very enjoyable read; what I don´t get, however, is how the writer can let the protagonists trip almost daily. Has he never heard of how quickly the body builds up tolerance in these cases?