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Tao Lin

Forfatter af Eeeee Eee Eeee

28+ Works 1,833 Members 72 Reviews 7 Favorited

Værker af Tao Lin

Eeeee Eee Eeee (2007) 420 eksemplarer
Taipei (2013) 374 eksemplarer
Shoplifting from American Apparel (2009) 288 eksemplarer
Bed (2007) 220 eksemplarer
Richard Yates (1900) 154 eksemplarer
Selected Tweets (2015) 12 eksemplarer
Hikikomori 4 eksemplarer

Associated Works

The Apocalypse Reader (2007) — Bidragyder — 195 eksemplarer
Granta 127: Japan (2014) — Bidragyder — 125 eksemplarer
Granta 156: Interiors (2021) — Bidragyder — 34 eksemplarer

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This is the first book I’ve read by someone who I’ve come to realize is a very polarizing writer. I’ve always been a fan of so-called “auto-fiction” for its ability to draw attention to and build consciousness of the minutia of daily life that most people wouldn’t think worthy of including in a work of art. The fact is that these minutia constitute the vast majority most of our lives, and reading this kind of book can build a facility for attention and focus, causing us to see something we might otherwise consider as mundane as a fleeting moment of a life that we will never get back.
Lin’s style doesn’t seem to be aiming towards this. In interviews he has said he views his work as a kind of therapy, which fits in well with his avatar’s obsession with “recovery” from his various neurosises, health problems, and addictions. As such, this book is mostly free of the pretensions to literary style that other autofictionists like Knausgaard, Teju Cole, or Sebald might include. Instead we are given actual transcriptions of secret recordings made by the narrator Li of the people around him, full of the small idiosyncrasies, misspeaking, and awkwardness swirling around us in the conversations we have everyday. The fact that we are reading them in a book highlights all these feelings, often pushing Lin’s writing into a kind of cringey uncanny.
I’ve seen some other reviewers react viscerally to Li as a character, grafting their hatred for him and his annoying preoccupations onto how they feel about the book. Li is most certainly annoying. I spent most of the book wondering how ironically it was all meant to be taken. Was I supposed to take all the New Age mumbo jumbo at face value? Or was I supposed to see I no thru it? Only after finishing the book and listening to an interview with Lin did I figure out that no, he’s actually serious, and that later claims that Lin has made about curing his autism with holistic medicine and liking Trump for his anti vaxx stance was totally real. I don’t particularly object to these beliefs- I like my artists eccentric and don’t mind if they don’t conform to what I might say about a given topic. But some of the stuff Li blathers on about in this book are really silly, and it seems like Lin actually wasn’t in on the joke like I was initially inclined to think he was.
Speaking of autism, I sort of started to feel like that was an unspoken theme of the book halfway thru, and was vindicated when in the latter parts it becomes a major preoccupation for Li. For those who feel like hating on this book, think about the fact that this is probably the first “openly” autistic artist with wide reach the world has ever seen, and I dig the fact that Lin is repping his neurodivergent tendencies.
This book goes into a category of art that I really love: interesting works that I’m not sure if I actually like or not. Reading it I was reminded of another Taiwan related artist, the director Tsai Ming Liang, whose difficult, excruciatingly slow movies are hard to “enjoy” in the way one typically does with a good film. However, I often find myself ruminating upon his movies much longer than other films that I “like” more - sometimes even months after the fact. Like Tsai, Lin’s work doesn’t play into what is “entertaining” or particularly palatable - but he does deserve plaudits for using art in maybe its most interesting way: a tool for intellectual experimentation and alchemy. Seen in this way, even his failures are worth it.
… (mere)
 
Markeret
hdeanfreemanjr | 2 andre anmeldelser | Jan 29, 2024 |
Ernest Hemingway was known for using short simple sentences to create strong powerful pieces of fiction. This novel is full short very simple sentences. Unfortunately it reads like something a 12 year old might have written.
1 stem
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kevinkevbo | 17 andre anmeldelser | Jul 14, 2023 |
"Grumpy And Bad." A kind of self-involvement from which it may not be possible to recover.

In the earlier Taipei, Tao Lin approaches the height of mortification - dispensing with Kafka's cheap metaphors - leaving just a sliver of noumenal implied space (internal turmoil). Here he attempts to go further, become more "meta", more "autobio", but he tips his hand too far. (That this work suggests a fundamental misapprehension of how the prior novel works makes me doubt even this assessment - requires re-evaluation)

I suspect a major difference between this and the previous novel is that the conversations appear to be literally recorded and transcribed and/or dictated shortly afterward, producing (by his own admission) a superabundance of notes for him to Sift and Sort. Earlier work appears to be reconstructed from a series of Blogspot posts, which seems to suit him better...

Notably very (very)_ heavy on so-called New Age theories (not surprising based on his recent Goodreads updates). Despite, or perhaps because of this, the work remains jarringly ego/anthropo-centric, and in a bad way. I'm reminded of those horrible "Ancient Aliens" television programs, which, purporting to question conventional wisdom, actually falls back on top of it, weaving yet another layer of falsehood out of whole cloth. The architectural accomplishments of old "Civilizations" (overwhelmingly non-"white"/european) are doubted a priori to the extent that aliens are dreamed up more plausible.

For Li(n), the so-called "self-education" project ostensibly runs counter to that narrative. Yet all these new age women-centered non-toxic non-dominator Histories, even given as true, are all yoked to to serve his purpose of "Feeling Okay". Ostensibly he is casting off "second-nature", yet this movement relaxes immediately from disquiet to mollification ("this is wrong, but i know the right way") which was its original intent anyway: Worship of the "Earth Mother" but without environmentalism or any imperative to "Service" to others/self except to personally "feel good" about things. Vague nostalgia for Old Europe communities/communes vs "toxic/dominator" modernity, yet, paradoxically, never particularly concerned for the interest of anyone other than himself (and even in those meandering, bickering discussions with his parents the true object of concern is up for debate). What can these substances (drugs/natural medicines) do for me? What is their use value? These "mainstream" substances/medicines are toxic - they have bad use value.

Relating directly to this:
"Three weeks later, they walked and talked again. Rain forest destruction was in the news. Li explained McKenna’s view of history as a natural, inevitable process—the culmination of billions of years of acceleratingly increasing complexity—which like childbirth was painful but purposeful.

“So he’s not saying all the destruction is bad,” said Kay.

“No. That was what I first liked about him. He seems positive in a convincing way.”
Roughly, I think L(in) has performed a morbid psychological movement. Contorting himself from a nadir of pain/despair to a "recovery" involving the involution of the ontology of the entire world while he can remain as self-involved/egocentric as before - if not moreso. If this increasingly contrived world-interpretation can be marshalled as an ego defense, and it can, it's unlikely L(i)n will ever have need to make another such "Wheel-turning" movement to become anything other than the above. I seriously wonder whether it is possible for (L)in to psychologically recover from this.

and then there's the rest of it. I think LinLi has gotten inside his head a bit too much. He wants to be more of a "Serious Author" and less of a "Meme Author" so he's broadening his appeal by applying some more conventional writing techniques - techniques he supposedly already moved past. First there's the bickering. More or less space-occupying discussions between Li and Mom, and Li and Dad, and Dad and Mom, and Li and Mom and Dad, and Dudu and so on. These are supposed to reveal the "heart of gold" beneath this typical, albeit particular, family drama. IMO it comes across flat, and pretty much directly undercuts the "Transcendence" narrative he ostensibly believes (why read all those books in real life)?
Li left his room and told his mom he’d get a headache without caffeine. He emailed her an article on caffeine withdrawal, then went to tell her to read it. She was wearing earphones, washing dishes.

“We can’t talk when you wear earphones,” said Li. He returned to his room, chugged coffee, and lay in bed.

He got up and emailed his mom, apologizing for getting defensive about her concern, then went outside and felt better

Biking home, he began to feel nauseated and negative again. His parents had said they bickered “even more” when he wasn’t there, which made him feel pressure to be there more.

[...]

(grumpy and bad) "On the train, he apologized for calling his parents greedy. He emailed himself, “Parents seem taken aback by my outburst, and I also feel taken aback. If I saw Mike doing what I did, I would view him as very grumpy and bad.”
There's also the amateur trick wherein he explains a term then uses it repeatedly "not good" "Du" - for "Li". "bù xíng le - fucked", father using humor before becoming serious: "don't throw things" - "don't hit people", "jazzy, laid-back remix of the Chopin nocturne played in the station." father "buying batteries" - like returning videotapes in American Psycho, “embarrassed”—“bù hǎo yìsi,” literally “not good meaning”—meant “excuse me.”, "flapping".

The most direct statement of the "general theme" doesn't go far in either dirction. I think (Li)N's a bit too stoned to build up on any of the following tbh:
“I’m thinking,” said Li. “Zhuangzi said the fish were happy, and the other person said, ‘How do you know they’re happy; you aren’t them,’ and Zhuangzi said, ‘You aren’t me; how do you know that I don’t know that they’re happy?’ ”

“Then it’s endless!” said Li’s mom.

“Then—no, no! Then you say, ‘You aren’t me. How do you know I don’t know you don’t know the fish are very happy,’ ” said Li’s dad, seeming to mangle it a bit, laughing
Only good story idea comes from the lit mag editor he's dating:
"Kay described a short story in which a husband brings home a talking female head and tells his wife it’ll help their financial situation. The head was always subtly on the husband’s side."
… (mere)
 
Markeret
Joe.Olipo | 2 andre anmeldelser | Nov 26, 2022 |
Only pushed through to the end as I had purchased this for my kindle, and reading it on the subway was sometimes less grueling then sitting on the subway not reading anything. Seeing lots of fleeting references to local Brooklyn or other NYC places (many random references to Bobst Library, where I worked for 6 years, for example) and other contemporary cultural detritus (think is the first novel I've read that mentions Goodreads) helped pass the time, but this is dull writing about an unbelievably empty, seemingly autobiographical protagonist.… (mere)
 
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AlexThurman | 18 andre anmeldelser | Dec 26, 2021 |

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Værker
28
Also by
3
Medlemmer
1,833
Popularitet
#14,047
Vurdering
3.2
Anmeldelser
72
ISBN
49
Sprog
8
Udvalgt
7

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