Tao Lin

25 02 2010

I finally read Tao Lin’s novella, Shoplifting from American Apparel. I liked it. I think he conveys the emotions of his characters (which are relatable to many people) without stating what those emotions are. The main character, Sam, and the various girls with which he is involved during the book feel very real and true-to-life despite the deadpan, declarative-sentence style in which they are rendered. Indeed, the characters’ lives are concrete, composed of individual, specific events that Tao presents but does not linguistically judge or distort. As he says in his radio interview with Michael Silverblatt on Bookworm, Tao’s writing style in this novella is an enactment of Buddhism. There is an attempt to move toward pre-language. One may also say that Tao gives dignity to the ways many young people attempt to relate with one another. His work takes in the full spectrum of human emotion, from enthusiasm to absurdity to despair to self-laceration to love to detachment. Not to mention he’s frequently funny. On a less-loving, but satisfying note, here’s an essay Tao wrote awhile back for 3:AM Magazine in which he “severely trashes” Granta Magazine’s publication, Best of Young American Novelists 2. If you’re interested in Tao, he is all over the internet. This interview with BOMB is helpful in terms of Tao explaining what he thinks he does.

Bonus:

Tao Lin reading some hilarious/sad poems (or being obnoxious, depending on your taste in things).

Tao Lin’s Twitter

Unrelated Bonus:
Lil Wayne’s Twitter until he goes to jail (this is actually real, apparently)

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