Taipei, by Tao Lin
From the Inside Flap
"Tao Lin has made a distinctive career out of sticking to his guns, his guns being the ultra-high-res self-consciousness that characterizes our lives but which we routinely ignore in our lives and in our art. In Taipei he is a constant microscope, examining a world of miniature gestures, tiny facial movements, hands in motion, shrugs, nods, twists, ticks, flicks and snaps, a world in which the barrage of information we take in moment by moment is simultaneously cataloged, interpreted, cross-referenced, recorded, and filed. Taipei is a paean to the minutely examined life, where what is examined is every twitch, flinch, jerk, spasm, tremor, and tic, every high-speed half-formed thought, everything that we routinely consider meaningless and inessential. Here all that is turned on its head and becomes central and predominate, fundamental to being. There is no mistaking that we live a new, ultra self-conscious life, skating on the surface of things while overlaying that surface with a facsimile of the "old life" in which traditional values retain their power and majesty. What is fascinating about Tao Lin's fiction is his willingness, nay, insistence, on sticking to the true life of the new century, as raw, flat, fatigued as it may be. In Taipei he follows an utterly modern creature through a semi-robotic life in America and Taiwan, limiting himself and his characters to reasonably accurate renderings of normal responses without the literary humanist overlay, that is to say, a world almost binary and without much in the way of conventional "emotion," the stuff of which storytelling has forever been made. Lin is a 21st century literary adventurer, willing to work with what he actually has rather than a simulacrum of what once was, or might have been. The result is a fascinating book, bone dry, repellant, painful, but relentlessly true to life. Stripped of any version of the pretty Hallmark Card world that occupies so much fiction today, and which seems vulgar and pathetic by comparison, Taipei lays open the present and likely future of ordinary life in a way that few writers would acknowledge, let alone champion. You owe it to yourself to read Taipei, and to contemplate the world it predicts."--Frederick Barthelme, author of Waveland
About the Author
Tao Lin is the author of the novels Richard Yates and Eeeee Eee Eeee, the novella Shoplifting from American Apparel, the story collection Bed, and the poetry collections cognitive-behavioral therapy and you are a little bit happier than i am. He is the founder and editor of the literary press Muumuu House. His work has been translated to twelve languages and he lives in Manhattan.