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.
"[Lin's] best yet. . . . His rendering of tripping is perfect--better even. . .than Aldous Huxley's elegant and evocative passages in The Doors of Perception, because Lin's account conveys reverence and immersion without grandiosity. And that allows humor to leak through. . . . A joy to read." --Bookforum "Addictive.... Strikingly vivid.... Lin coherently challenges the sense behind labeling psychedelics as controlled substances.... A kaleidoscopic fever dream of ideas, idolatry, and lots of drugs: uniquely produced and curiously intoxicating." --Kirkus Reviews
"An introspective work.... [Lin] chronicles his experiences with various psychedelic drugs in his first nonfiction book, weaving autobiography, history, and spiritual journey together to pose existential questions."--Publishers Weekly
"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?
"Trip transcends the ranks of drug memoirs to give us a characteristically nontraditional, completely unique, hilarious, tender, and at times frightening departure from everyday life such as only Tao Lin can write. With fascinating specificity, it asks essential questions about the nature of time, reality, consciousness, and the self, while holding a looking glass up to contemporary life, to ask, Is this really all there is?--and to answer, No, the possibility for knowledge is endless, and we should never cease searching." --Sarah Gerard, author of Sunshine State
"Similar to the psychedelic drugs Tao Lin writes about here, this book introduces new ways to consider language, perception, and recovery. It's a joy to watch Lin interrogate his obsessions so earnestly and thoroughly in an attempt to understand more about the world as he knows it. Trip is a book for anyone interested in learning about what the human mind is capable of seeing and believing." --Chelsea Hodson, author of Tonight I'm Someone Else
"Tao Lin took all the drugs so that we wouldn't have to, and the result is astonishing, mind-expanding, beautiful, and profound. The whole of humanity seems contained in this one book." --Kristen Iskandrian, author of Motherest
"Tao Lin's writing reliably restores my sense of the inexhaustible strangeness of even one minute of human thought and feeling." --Michael W. Clune, author of White Out