BOOK REVIEWS: LET'S TALK ABOUT SEX; THE INNER CIRCLE by TC BOYLE (Bloomsbury Pounds 16.99) HHHH

Article excerpt

Byline: HENRY SUTTON

Alfred Kinsey - or Dr Sex as he was often called - was one of the most controversial figures of the 20th century. The mere mention of his name still causes consternation on an epic scale.

He was the American professor and sex researcher who revealed what people really got up to in the bedroom, the car and just about everywhere else imaginable.

Kinsey was more loathed than loved and became a hate figure for the conservative American administration of the time. He was deemed to be the sole instigator of a new permissiveness and a communist to boot.

Feelings are still running high. When the movie, Kinsey, starring Liam Neeson, came out in the US late last year, it was met with a storm of protest, particularly across the Bible Belt. Its release in the UK later this month will no doubt be hotly debated.

TC Boyle's work is neither the book of the film, nor anything like a straight biography. It's a fictionalised account of Kinsey's life and working methods narrated by a member of his "inner circle". John Milk gets sucked into Kinsey's world when he's a freshman at Indiana University, where Kinsey was a professor of zoology. From studying the sex lives of fruit flies, Kinsey soon moved onto humans. To do this he needed volunteers to tell him everything about their sexual histories. …