Game and gleefully provocative . . . My treasured companion of late." --New York Times
Threshold, or, how I learned to stop worrying (about what sort of novel this is) and love the narrator, whose brilliance and humor on drugs and literature, sex and boredom and death, leave me in awe. --Rachel Kushner
Fearless and challenging, inventive and compulsive, unique and utterly heartfelt. --John Boyne
"Daring and deranged, endlessly entertaining, furiously funny." --Geoff Dyer
"Playful, potent, lurid, moving, and fearless." --Lisa McInerney
" A] modern day odyssey." --Teddy Wayne
"A Pilgrim's Progress for our time." --Mike McCormack
"A thrilling mutation . . . Doyle's] is a journey you don't want to miss." --Chris Power
An uninhibited portrait of the artist as a perpetual drifter and truth-seeker--a funny, profound, compulsive read that's like traveling with your wildest and most philosophical friend.
The narrator of Rob Doyle's Threshold has spent the last two decades traveling, writing, and imbibing drugs and literature in equal measure, funded by brief periods of employment or "on the dole" in Dublin. Now, stranded between reckless youth and middle age, his travels to far-flung places have acquired a de facto purpose: to aid the contemporary artist's search for universal truth.
Following Doyle from Buddhism to the brink of madness, Threshold immerses us in the club-drug communalism of the Berlin underworld, the graves of myth-chasing artists in Paris, and the shattering and world-rebuilding revelations brought on by the psychedelic DMT, the so-called "spirit molecule."
Exulting in the rootlessness of the wanderer, Doyle exists in a lineage of writer-characters--W. G. Sebald, Ben Lerner, Maggie Nelson, and Rachel Cusk--deftly and subversively exploring forms between theory and autobiography. Insightful and provocative, Threshold is a darkly funny, genuinely optimistic, compulsively readable celebration of perception and desire, of what is here and what is beyond our comprehension.
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About the Author
When it comes to reading in an emergency . . . comfort seems to be the order of the day -- old favorites, regressive pleasures, cozy classics. I am here to champion the opposite: the enlivening, more absorbing distractions of disagreement . . .; the deep diversion of a good, cleansing quarrel, especially with a book that is game and gleefully provocative. Threshold, a nettlesome new novel -- surly, ambitious, frequently annoying -- has been my treasured companion of late. - New York Times
Confidently told . . . The masterly narrative pacing brilliantly counterbalances lurid episodes and sometimes terror with devastating wit and epiphany. As ever, Doyle's prose is compulsively readable, and his insights always credible and occasionally astonishing. - Library Journal (starred review)
[Threshold] provides one of the wildest experiences you can have without regrets or hangovers. If you long for your misspent youth--or didn't have one--here you go. - Kirkus Reviews
Rob Doyle . . . is following in the footsteps of his countryman James Joyce by refusing to repeat himself and by pushing his genius beyond ordinary boundaries . . . The book is funny and scary and profoundly compelling . . . Like some 21st century Hemingway with an Irish accent, Doyle is living it up to write it down. - New York Journal of Books
Written in lyrical prose . . . this tragicomic, introspective, and philosophical work beautifully explores the limits of our understanding. - Booklist
His best book so far: riddling, irreverent and fearless. - Times Literary Supplement
A wild, sleazy, drug-filled odyssey . . . Doyle's maverick novel deserves the accolades coming its way. - Independent
Dark, misanthropic, provocative; Doyle's writing really 'goes there, ' and emerges triumphant. - Irish Times
Doyle's musings are always intriguing and often enlightening, offering a glimpse of the anxious yet pleasing rationale of a mind struggling to live in a rational world. - Publishers Weekly
The Great Modern Drug Novel . . . Threshold innovatively merges the first-person intimacy of memoir, journalistic research, and the deathless hedonism of untethered youth--with a light touch. . . . In our new reality of high indoors, we look to books to take us somewhere. Threshold takes us everywhere. - Inside Hook
If this blurb were a movie title it would go like this: Threshold, or, how I learned to stop worrying (about what sort of novel this is) and love the narrator, whose brilliance and humor on drugs and literature, sex and boredom and death, leave me in awe. - Rachel Kushner, Man Booker Prize-shortlisted author of THE MARS ROOM
Threshold is extraordinary, quite unlike anything I've read before. It's intimate, a revelation in the literal sense of that word, and yet it's full of curiosity. It's hit me right in the gut, made me think about my own life and the things that I've done in it. It's fearless and challenging, inventive and compulsive, unique and utterly heartfelt. A book that will stay with me for a very long time. Masterful. - John Boyne, author of THE HEART'S INVISIBLE FURIES
The geographic and intellectual peregrinations of Threshold cover a great deal of terrain: tripping (both the drug and day variety), vast swathes of Europe, reading, loneliness, sex. Rob Doyle's portrait of the artist as a youngish man, filtered through the sieve of his refined prose, is the modern-day odyssey of a traveler who doesn't quite have a home to return to except for the expansive vistas of his own roving mind. - Teddy Wayne, author of LONER
Ecce homo! Threshold is audacious (never more so than when most abject), daring and deranged, endlessly entertaining, furiously funny and - to hurtle to the other end of the alphabet - wonderful. Above all, it's a highly original attempt to engage, formally, with Nietzsche's dangerous question: 'how much truth can one mind [or novel] bear?' - Geoff Dyer, author of JEFF IN VENICE, DEATH IN VARANASI
Rob Doyle has outdone himself. Threshold is one of those novels where underlining notable lines would be a very bad idea, as you'd absolutely mangle the paper . . . It's the kind of work you have to come down from--playful, potent, lurid, moving and fearless. I'm sure it'll be bouncing around my head for a long time yet. - Lisa McInerney, author of THE GLORIOUS HERESIES
This is the type of brilliant, maverick achievement that sets a (young) writer apart. Wonderfully readable and with a skein of black comedy running through it that serves to highlight the seriousness of Doyle's intent. A Pilgrim's Progress for our time. - Mike McCormack, author of the Booker Prize-longlisted SOLAR BONES
Threshold is Rob Doyle's best book yet, a thrilling mutation somewhere between novel, essay collection, report, travelogue and confession. Doyle is a Romantic wandering in the post-sublime, a zealot without a cause, and his is a journey you don't want to miss. - Chris Power, author of MOTHERS
Threshold is about inhabiting the space between the mundane and the sublime . . . Transcendence can certainly be found in things like magic mushrooms . . . but it also be found in love and language, which are themselves gateways and thresholds. This marvelous book knows that and leads us toward them. - Irish Central Review