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Is it even good?

Brandon Taylor: Two Years with Zola, 4 April 2024

... When​ I agreed to write about Les Rougon-Macquart, Émile Zola’s cycle of twenty novels, published between 1871 and 1893, I imagined it would take six months, after which I would write an amusing little essay about how we should all read more Zola.* This is not what happened. It took me two years. In that time, I had two books published, wrote another two books, moved from Iowa City to New York, taught myself film photography, became a professor of creative writing and an acquiring editor for a small press, adapted one of my novels for film, wrote a pilot for television, went on antidepressants, increased my dosage of antidepressants, stopped drinking coffee after 3 p ...

Always Smiling

Mendez: ‘Real Life’, 19 November 2020

Real Life 
by Brandon Taylor.
Daunt, 327 pp., £9.99, July 2020, 978 1 911547 74 7
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... Wallace,​ the protagonist of Brandon Taylor’s first novel, Real Life, is black, gay, overweight and from Alabama. When he moved to an unnamed university town in the Midwest to study for a doctorate in biochemistry, he told himself that he had to be ‘a Midwesterner at heart’ because ‘being in the South and being gay were incompatible … no two parts of a person could be more incompatible ...

Ekphrasis is so dead

Adam Mars-Jones: ‘The Late Americans’, 29 June 2023

The Late Americans 
by Brandon Taylor.
Cape, 303 pp., £18.99, June, 978 1 78733 443 4
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... in Iowa City, home of the Writers’ Workshop, risks an inflammation of this tendency. Sensibly, Brandon Taylor pulls away from roman à clef territory and a hall-of-mirrors effect by ignoring practitioners of fiction and introducing a poet, Seamus, in the first section of The Late Americans.Seamus is a disruptive element in his seminar group, prone to ...

I hate my job

Niela Orr: Lauren Oyler meets herself, 15 July 2021

Fake Accounts 
by Lauren Oyler.
Fourth Estate, 272 pp., £12.99, February, 978 0 00 836652 0
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... out. Reviewing​ Fake Accounts alongside Patricia Lockwood’s No One Is Talking about This, Brandon Taylor wrote: I’m not totally sure I believe in the Internet Novel as an aesthetic project … There are no black people in these novels. And what black people do exist only exist as superficial spoilers to liberal complacency. The modes and ...

I’m Getting Out of Here

Leo Robson: Percival Everett, 3 November 2022

Percival Everett by Virgil Russell 
by Percival Everett.
Influx, 271 pp., £9.99, September 2021, 978 1 910312 99 5
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by Percival Everett.
Faber, 294 pp., £8.99, August 2021, 978 0 571 37089 4
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The Trees 
by Percival Everett.
Influx, 334 pp., £9.99, March 2022, 978 1 914391 17 0
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... identifiable idiom, live in a certain part of a town, or be called a nigger by someone’. And as Brandon Taylor points out in his foreword to the new edition of Erasure, the narrator, Thelonious ‘Monk’ Ellison, introduces himself first as ‘a writer of fiction … a son, a brother, a fisherman, an art lover, a woodworker’, and then again in ...

Prejudice Rules

LRB Contributors: After Roe v. Wade, 21 July 2022

... to my mind – ‘had sex’.We might write of reproductive freedom, of justice, what Astra Taylor writes of democracy: it may not exist, but ‘we’ll miss it when it’s gone.’ Well, some will (if the polls are right – but also, fuck polls); some won’t. This will be fractiously, violently contended in coming years, as it has been for ...

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