Chris Willman
August 22, 2003 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Tiger In A Trance

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Max Ludington
genre
Fiction

We gave it an A

Deadheads will form the initial queue for this startlingly good debut, a road book that follows a boarding-school dropout — turned — Ecstasy dealer who intermittently joins the movable feast that trailed Jerry Garcia & Co. in the late ’80s. Ludington earns knowing laughs from critical quirks among the faithful (”Taking a piss during ‘C.C. Rider’ had become almost automatic for me… I would usually be standing at a urinal when Bobby’s lugubrious, off-key attempt at a slide solo reached me muffled by a cinder-block wall”). And few writers have managed more clearheaded descriptions of getting high — or coming down. But it’d be a shame if the words Dead and drugs scared off serious-lit types, who might otherwise marvel at Ludington’s ferocious command of character and Americana.

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