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Outside the Gates of Eden

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  88 ratings  ·  22 reviews
What happened to the idealism of the 1960s? This question has haunted a generation. Outside the Gates of Eden follows two men from their first meeting in high school to their final destination in the twenty-first century. Alex is torn between his father’s business empire and his own artistic yearnings. Cole finds his calling at a Bob Dylan concert in 1965. From the Summer ...more
Hardcover, 880 pages
Published May 2019 by Subterranean Press
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Average rating 4.26  · 
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 ·  88 ratings  ·  22 reviews

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Bob Walenski
Jul 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
" Instead of the things they'd asked for, they'd gotten endless war in the Middle East,
resurgent racial violence, the death of the middle class, environmental disaster."

Lewis Shiner puts a spotlight on the "Woodstock Generation" and their 1960's dream for peace, love and brotherhood. Hindsight from five decades of time have shown how their idealism has withered and died. The 'Hippies' ( a meaningless stereotype from media convenience and hype) were answered by Nixon, Reagan, Bush II and Trump.
May 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
A sprawling novel that follows several musicians from the promise of the 60s to the realities of the adulthood in the era of Trump.

The book is enormous - and the pages devoted to the 60s and the music that inspired a generation is truly epic. The details of Dylan, Hendrix, Joplin and dozens of other bands weave effortlessly throughout the narrative. The music biz and how important it was to stay on the cutting edge, the impossibility of staying away from the drugs and sex that were rampant. Many
John Day
Jun 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
For anyone who came of age in the 60s, this is a wonderful trip through the lives of people we might have known. A well written saga by an author who loves music and people.
Gary McDonald
Jan 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I love this book. best novel I've read in years!
Matthew Harffy
Sep 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Outside the Gates of Eden is an epic, sprawling double gatefold concept album of a novel. It is a poignant and powerful swansong to the end of the twentieth century, to the demise of wide-eyed, often drug-fuelled innocence of the Summer of Love and Woodstock; an elegy to ideals and dreams lost. But through it all, like a pounding John Bonham stomp groove, the enduring power of music and love to redeem us all flows through the heart of the story.

Filled with missed opportunities and wasted time, O
Sep 29, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed reading this. Certainly found it effortless to read such an epic story, definitely wanted to see what happened to the characters.

But it was a bit uneven in parts. I suppose it's inevitable with such a big work to lose focus. It seemed to be initially about four characters, all of whom were introduced, but then it didn't tell their stories equally - really it's about Cole.

Wonderful and fully realised until Woodstock which forms the central piece. And then after that I couldn't h
Kris Morgan
Oct 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Outside the Gates of Eden is without a doubt one of the greatest things I’ve ever read. This 947 page tome never failed to keep me sprinting through the pages, enveloped as I was in the lives of the numerous characters inhabiting them. I felt that I was right there with Cole, Alex, Dave, Madelyn and co, as familiar and comfortable as old friends or an old favourite album. I did not want this book to ever end, didn’t want to let go of these characters, was almost disappointed when there were year ...more
Bill Wallace
Sep 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
A pleasure to read and fantastically researched, Shiner's novel is mostly the story of my generation and the slow erosion of the values that appeared to become American in the 60s. The book's span, from that era to our current age of, shall we way, rather different values, is impressive and detailed. That said, the viewpoint is not blind to the faults of the 60s and shows the perilous and eroding passage of idealism through the temptations of self gratification, fame, and greed. The main charact ...more
R.R. Angell
Sep 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An incredible tour de force of the evolution of music and American culture from before Woodstock to the near present. At 860 pages, it looks a bit daunting, but it is a great read. Shiner pulls us easily through with great characters, perspectives, and prose so perfect you don’t notice it or the time flying by. He writes about music and musicians like nobody else, and if you’ve ever played any instrument, ever wanted to, or just want to know what it is like to be caught up in the magic of music, ...more
Ken Richards
Nov 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I inhaled the entirety of this wonderful book in only 3 days. All 900+ pages. Lewis Shiner's telling of the history and evolution of the counterculture of the 60s rings with truth and veracity. It also rings with the truth of experience. The travails of aspiring musician Jeff Cole and his friends, lovers, enemies and fellow travelers are liberally borrowed and embellished from the author's own life experiences.

Nov 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Morgan by: A friend who is acquainted with the author
A well done book that covers a lot of time and territory. It examines America from the sixties to today through the eyes of the Vietnam generation. The characters are engaging and believable. My favorite is Madelyn, whose dreams of becoming an English Literature get sidetracked. She has the most grit of all the characters. She doesn't give up.

Highly recommended.
Noel Holston
Sep 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Nobody writes fiction about '60s sex, drugs and rock&roll better than Lewis Shiner, and this is his magnum opus, a big, sprawling work about the Woodstock generation's dreams, self-deceptions and eventual implosion. We weren't stardust, we weren't golden, just garden-variety human. ...more
Sep 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
From the domestic utopia shown in Miracle on 34th Street and I Love Lucy to the civil unrest exemplified by Bob Dylan and the Vietnam protests, this is the story of America in the Atomic age, for better or worse.
Apr 30, 2020 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebook
Currently free from Subterranean Press if you're in the US. You'll need an account with them--they don't require payment information--and then you can download the book in DRM-free epub or mobi. April 30, 2020. ...more
Shane Tetlow
Feb 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Loved the book, loved the characters, loved the time period.
Bradly Clark
Oct 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Wow - what a ride. Don't get intimidated by the size of this book. It is a terrific tale with its roots in the sixties and ends in the present day. Great characters.
It's not that this book is bad, I just struggled to get through this brick
Farouk Bahri
Jan 18, 2020 rated it liked it
The first two thirds of the novel are incredible, the last third unbearable.
Oct 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I felt like I knew these characters intimately by the end of this enormous story.

Someone wrote that they envied the person just discovering Lewis Shiner and I agree.
Eric Layton
Sep 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
Sep 28, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in2019
a very hard pass on this, thanks.
Jonathan Densford
Oct 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The summer of ‘69 ... backstage at Woodstock aspiring Rock Idol Jeff Cole’s moment is at hand. Will his band’s impending performance before 300,000 be the big break of his dreams? Back in San Francisco, Madelyn also faces excruciating challenges concerning her education, marriage, and career. In Austin, Cole’s best friend, Alex Montoya, must soon choose between his father’s business empire and Alex’s own dreams of artistic expression and his radical political ideals.

The intertwining paths of th
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Sep 08, 2019
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Aug 08, 2019
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