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A Kind of Gnawing Offness

David Haglund: Tao Lin

21 October 2010
Richard Yates 
by Tao Lin.
Melville House, 206 pp., £10.99, October 2010, 978 1 935554 15 8
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... The title of TaoLin’s sixth book and second novel is an act of mild provocation. Richard Yates belongs to a biography, not a novel – certainly not one in which Yates himself doesn’t appear. One character in the ...

I totally do look nice

Luke Brown: Adam Thirlwell

19 March 2015
Lurid & Cute 
by Adam Thirlwell.
Cape, 358 pp., £16.99, January 2015, 978 0 224 08913 5
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... to his eventual comeuppance; the story is told ‘now that I am maimed and aged and all alone.’ The casual way he takes and talks about drugs is reminiscent of a novel by Bret Easton Ellis or TaoLin, but Thirlwell goes below the blank affect to focus on the manic energy of solipsism. The plot might sound noirish, but the novel doesn’t try to entertain with suspense. Javier Marías’s novels ...

Predatory Sex Aliens

Gary Indiana: Burroughs

7 May 2014
Call Me Burroughs: A Life 
by Barry Miles.
Twelve, 718 pp., £17, January 2014, 978 1 4555 1195 2
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... A handful of American writers have accomplished something original with the novel form in his wake – John Hawkes, Rudolph Wurlitzer, Renata Adler, Lynne Tillman, Kathy Acker, Bret Easton Ellis and TaoLin come to mind – but innovative narrative fiction has enjoyed far greater support from publishers and readers in Europe. The bulk of published American fiction consists of cookie-cutter, middle ...

‘Damn right,’ I said

Eliot Weinberger: Bush Meets Foucault

6 January 2011
Decision Points 
by George W. Bush.
Virgin, 497 pp., £25, November 2010, 978 0 7535 3966 8
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... would explain it to the American people. Finally, I would set up a process to ensure that my policy was implemented. There are nearly 500 pages of this, reminiscent of the current po-mo poster boys, TaoLin, with his anaesthetised declarative sentences, and Kenneth Goldsmith with his ‘uncreative writing’, such as a transcription of a year’s worth of daily radio weather reports. Foucault notes ...

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