cover image The Further Inquiry

The Further Inquiry

Ken Kesey. Viking Books, $24.95 (256pp) ISBN 978-0-670-83174-6

Kesey gained notoriety in 1964 when he and his Merry Pranksters converted a school bus into a psychedelic caravan with Neal Cassady at the wheel--a cross-country safari chronicled in Tom Wolfe's Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test. This look back at that LSD-laced adventure, written as a dramatic script, conjures a courtroom trial in which Cassady's Spirit and assorted riders on the '64 journey are held accountable for their mad melee. Kesey ( One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest ) offers fitful flashes of insight into the '60s, and Cassady's free-associative, incantatory spiels pulsate with a Beat beat, yet, for the most part, the shenanigans seem insipid and sophomoric--a nostalgia ticket for hard-core Kesey or Wolfe fans. More than 150 color photos, Pop page spreads and a photographic ``flip-book'' section recreating Cassady in action may increase salability. 50,000 first printing; QPB selection. (Oct.)