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. 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. 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). Some may find the subject matter objectionable, but it is never exploited or unduly erotic-rather, the tone of the novel matches well the tone of Kinsey’s studies and personal beliefs about human sexuality. 2004, 432 pages.
The Inner Circle by T.C. Boyle