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A Slate Best Book of the Year
From one of this generation's most talked about and enigmatic writers comes a deeply personal, powerful, and moving novel about family, relationships, accelerating drug use, and the lingering possibility of death.
Taipei by Tao Lin is an ode--or lament--to the way we live now. Following Paul from New York, where he comically navigates Manhattan's art and literary scenes, to Taipei, Taiwan,  where he confronts his family's roots, we see one relationship fail, while another is born on the internet and blooms into an unexpected wedding in Las Vegas. Along the way—whether on all night drives up the East Coast, shoplifting excursions in the South, book readings on the West Coast, or ill advised grocery runs in Ohio—movies are made with laptop cameras, massive amounts of drugs are ingested, and two young lovers come to learn what it means to share themselves completely. The result is a suspenseful meditation on memory, love, and what it means to be alive, young, and on the fringe in America, or anywhere else for that matter.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

From Publishers Weekly

Feb 25, 2013 – For all its straightforwardness, Lin s previous work with its flat, Internet-inspired prose issued by small presses has presented a stumbling stone for readers who fall outside his North Brooklyn contingent, for whom he is the standard bearer. This will change with the breakout Taipei, a novel about disaffection that s oddly affecting. The story of Paul with its book tours, Wikipedia binges, and on-again-off-again romances smacks of autobiography. Similarly, the specificity of the Brooklyn that Paul and his cohort of blithe, pill-popping ironists occupy the pop-cultural immediacy of the names of bands, books, and bars there blurs the distinction between fiction and reality. The thin plot follows Paul in and out of parties, drug trips, and relationships from August to December 2010 ( during the filming... of X-Men: First Class ). Everything about Taipei appears to run contrary to the standard idea of what constitutes art. And yet, the documentary precision captures the sleepwalking malaise of Lin s generation so completely, it s scary. Trips to Vegas with an Internet crush (they marry on a whim) and the Taiwan residence of his understandably worried parents underscore the profound dislocation of the information-fried urban hipsterati. Yet for all its emotional reality, Taipai is a book without an ounce of self-pity, melodrama, or posturing, making the glacial Lin (Richard Yates) the perfect poster child for a generation facing and failing to face maturity.

Customer Reviews

More affect than substance

I appreciate the way Lin can observe social minutiae in ways that are often telling. And he documents our distance from one another in the age of social media blah blah. But in the end I found this book listless and flat, a neuro-chemical deficit posing as world-view.

Great writing, sometimes lacking in story

Overall I enjoyed this book. The author's writing style is great, very dense and descriptive with long drawn-out sentences with many adjectives. Paul, the main character, isn't exactly a noble protagonist. Sometimes you really root for him, but other times he makes just really bad decisions and his personality can be really annoying in some parts. This, coupled with the fact that in some parts of the book there's really nothing happening, for example, when Paul and others are just sitting around, surfing the Internet, doing drugs constantly. The ending, also, was a disappointment. I greatly enjoyed the writing, the dialogue between, and the relationships between, the characters. The laid back personalities of all the characters in the book was different, and somewhat refreshing. I enjoyed learning about each character in the book and their crazy, zany shenanigans, sometimes it got to be a little too crazy and boring, but was enjoyable for the most part.

Overall, a great book that I would recommend to those who enjoy reading about characters of the younger generation trying to find themselves.

Lucid and Visceral but Frightening and Confusing

The emotions, feelings and fears that Lin describes are insanely accurate, illuminating and are capable of encapsulating the most indescribabke of sensations but the lack of empathy in some of the characters makes the reader fear them for their lack of humanity.
However, the sort of action and events described in the book could not be attritbuted to anyone else, the fact remains that the characters are confusing at times, maybe due to an implied sense of profundity that is only partially explored.

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  • $11.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Literary
  • Published: Jun 04, 2013
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Seller: Penguin Random House LLC
  • Print Length: 256 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

Customer Ratings