April 17, 2018
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“Trip is not only a book about drugs–it’s about the condition of humans at this point in history, troublingly divorced from our natural capacity for awe by our chemically depleted bodies and minds. This book has changed how I understand myself on a cellular level. It’s a superbly researched, moving, and formally inventive quest for re-enchantment, and Tao Lin’s most compelling and profound book yet.” —Sheila Heti, author of How Should a Person Be?
Part memoir, part history, part journalistic exposé, Trip is a look at psychedelic drugs, literature, and alienation from one of the twenty-first century’s most innovative novelists–The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test for a new generation. A Vintage Original.
While isolating himself to work on his novel Taipei, Tao Lin discovered the prolific work of Terence McKenna–the leading advocate of psychotropic drugs since Timothy Leary. Tao became obsessed with McKenna, whose worldview (and particular theory of drug use) seemed to present an alternate way of being. In Trip, Tao’s first ever book-length work of nonfiction, he explores parallels between McKenna’s life and his own in a far-reaching search for answers to looming questions: Why do we make art? What is language for? And are there essential, universal truths out there, beyond our limited range of perception?
Trip takes readers on a trip through psychedelic culture, from D.A.R.E. to Aldous Huxley, from NYU’s Bobst Library to a plant-drawing class in Santa Rosa, California. Drawing on first-person exploratory journalism as well as in-depth research, Tao details the experience of taking psilocybin, DMT, and cannabis, studies their chemical composure and legality, and ends his story with a pilgrimage out West, where he communes with McKenna’s ex-wife and fellow “ethnobotanist,” Kathleen Harrison.