Hate in the Time of Free Love

"My revolutions" by Hari Kunzru, "A Person of Interest" by Susan Choi, and "His Illegal Self" by Peter Carey

There probably weren't really that many murderous hippies running around in the 1960s, but you wouldn't know it from the novels of the past decade. Ever since Merry Levov blew up a post office in Philip Roth's American Pastoral, it has been like one long, literary Altamont: Russell Banks, T.C. Boyle, Susan Choi, Christopher Sorrentino and Dana Spiotta have all written books about nut-job flower children. And here come two more: Peter Carey's His Illegal Self (Knopf; 272 pages) and Hari Kunzru's My Revolutions (Dutton; 288 pages). Didn't anybody just leave it at taking illegal drugs and having promiscuous sex?

His...

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