True, his characters are young people living in Brooklyn. And he writes about the Internet. But we should stop calling Tao Lin the voice of his generation. Taipei, his new novel, has less to do with his generation than with the literary tradition of Knut Hamsun, Ernest Hemingway, and Robert Musil.
Mr. Lin was first thought to be “generational” because he was very young and had a big online following. But even in 2005 Mr. Lin cited throwback influences like Ann Beattie, Frederick Barthelme, and Joy Williams—somewhat unfashionable choices, indicating Mr. Lin’s highly individual taste for understatement, quirkiness, and what has been called K-Mart realism.
The Transom caught a 5 o’clock Metro-North train up to Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville on a recent Monday night and directed the cab driver to 45 Wrexham, a new building that houses specialty programs for graduate students. Not in the habit of auditing English classes, we remained silent as the seats filled with gradate students, all chattering before their workshop with enigmatic writer Tao Lin. The course? “The Contemporary Short Story.”
If you were wondering what kind of people fork over money for a class taught by the guy who live-blogged Hurricane Sandy for Thought Catalog while on Ecstasy, well, they’re pretty much what you’d expect.
Here Come the Stories of the Hurricane
Do you like your hurricane coverage with a healthy dose of ennui? Do you find most Hurricane Sandy news too “newsy”? If you want to read about how the hurricane makes people feel, about what it does for hopes, dreams, unfulfilled goals, general anxiety and drug intake, then maybe you should be reading Tao Lin’s liveblog over at Thought Catalog.
Stay tunned as Mr. Lin and other Thought Catalog contributors feel the crushing dread and anxiety of being alive–all while dealing with the reality of being stranded inside during a storm.
Last month, The Observer reported on the fire sale of short-prose author Tao Lin’s personal affects. Everything must go! And hey, we even helped him raise some money. Some of us may have even bought an “assorted collection of books” for $50, and then waited with increasingly doubt over its arrival.
But last night, we were rewarded for financial supporting the cause of making sure Mr. Lin’s Luna Bar supply was fully stocked. Why ever settle for an NPR tote bag when you could get this for your donation?
Post-wunderkind New York literary staple Tao Lin has either spent or not received the majority of the $50,000 he was to receive from for Vintage/Knopf for his book Taipei, the Bret Easton Ellis-meets-Siddhartha novel that is due to the publisher any day now. And if you’ve been keeping track, the author has not been cut a check by Sarah Lawrence either, where he teaches classes on the contemporary short story. (No word yet on how much Vice is paying him to make Photoshops of drug-related imagery.)
This has left Mr. Lin broke and, for at least the second time in his career, desperate enough to sell all of his possessions. While the first round of self fund-raising in 2011 involved a Vimeo showcase of his eBay items, this weekend’s cry for cash was limited to a now-deleted tweet and a correspondence with The Observer over what he’s willing to part with.
After yesterday’s breaking story about Shoplifting From American Apparel‘s Tao Lin being so broke that he was selling everything he owned, we heard encouraging news from the author. Having to wait on his advance for his next book and check from teaching at Sarah Lawrence has made Mr. Lin rely on the kindness of strangers…some of whom don’t even want anything in return.
The life of a successful writer isn’t as lucrative as Franco or Franzen would have you believe. Just ask Tao Lin: Saturday evening, the micro-messaging wunderkind sent out a tweet asking if anyone wanted to buy his stuff. All of it. Like, all of it. (The tweet has since been taken down.)
Some sort of viral marketing stunt? Maybe, but he’s done this kind of house cleaning before. Since we were in need of a good microwave, we took the bait and emailed him. Within five minutes, we received a reply:
A lengthy analysis of novelist Tao Lin’s career was published yesterday in Eye, the Columbia Spectator’s weekend magazine. The author, Kaitlin Phillips, is a n+1 intern and the author of the @nplusinterns. She also contributed to @tao_lininterns.
The 4,617-word piece–which touches on Mr. Lin’s college years, early professional struggles, and shrewd Read More
Tired of Kardashians, Canteen magazine decided it would take sexy pictures of writers instead.
“Writers have lost their place as cultural heroes,” laments the magazine. “But why can’t they at least try to compete with pop-culture stars on the same terms?
A profile of Minneapolis indie publisher Graywolf Press [Twin Cities Daily Planet]
Teju Cole contemplates the literature of solitude. [Guardian]
Tao Lin interviews Ben Lerner [The Believer]
E-books with soundtracks? “Much of the music — about nine hours’ worth for the typical novel — is instrumental or ambient noise. Read More