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Flings: Stories

3.54  ·  Rating Details ·  208 Ratings  ·  52 Reviews
The acclaimed author of Everything Here Is the Best Thing Ever and The Gospel of Anarchy makes his hardcover debut with a piercing collection of short fiction that illuminates our struggle to find love, comfort, and identity.

In a new suite of powerful and incisive stories, Justin Taylor captures the lives of men and women unmoored from their pasts and uncertain of their fu
Paperback, 240 pages
Published August 25th 2015 by Harper Perennial (first published August 19th 2014)
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This one got off to an inauspicious start for me with the title story which concerned the comings and goings of a number of unmemorable twenty-somethings.
Think Friends with no Smelly Cat.

It got better, though I have to admit upon finishing, only two stories really made an impression - Mike's Song about a father trying to connect with his grown kids by taking them to see the Phish in concert. "It's Phish, Dad, not 'the Phish.'" (He must REALLY love those kids to make such a sacrifice!) and Carol
Paul Bryant
A new name for me and another to add to my growing list of good ones. If you like the comedy show Girls you won’t need much introduction to these stories. There’s not as much “aggressive nudity” (love that phrase, as it’s regularly applied to Lena Dunham) and they aren’t as actually funny as Girls but it’s that kind of territory.

Young writers these days, boy, huh? They hafta be screechingly au courant don’t they, otherwise who will take to heart their satires and jibes? They – or let’s be nice,
Feb 11, 2015 TL rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I received this book via goodreads first reads in exchange for an honest review:)
A fun little collection of stories, my favorites were more towards the end but I enjoyed them all (rare for me. usually there's one or two I don't like/skip).

It took me a couple stories to really get into his writing style but once I did I flew through the novel . A couple stories had bits that were a bit slow but not in a bad way.

I loved getting a glimpse inside the lives of these ordinary people. .no one's perf
Jul 31, 2014 Ami rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beautiful, structurally perfect stories. I wanted the tiny world of each chapter to keep going and going and going.
Feb 05, 2016 Becky rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
People young and old face all kinds of choices. Decisions that will affect their lives not only immediately but just as much further down the line. Friends newly graduated and deciding what to do next; a couple about to get married and facing down secrets from their past; a divorced father spending an evening with his grown children... these are just a few examples of the stories in Justin Taylor's new collection.

I think there's a certain amount of discomfort I felt in reading these stories. Mo
Superb Collection of Tales from a Modern Master of the Short Story

One of the best prose stylists and storytellers of his generation, Justin Taylor's new short story collection "Flings: Stories" is worth noting as an important collection of short fiction from a writer who deserves favorable comparisons with other American masters of the short story, including George Saunders, Ben Marcus and Rick Moody. While he may not be as bold an experimenter as either Marcus or Moody, Taylor excels in deliver
Nick Douglas
Jun 10, 2014 Nick Douglas rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Rachel's galley. I'm waiting til closer to pub date to quote multiple paragraphs on Tumblr.
Jan 29, 2015 Lisa rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Flings: Stories by Justin Taylor, a book of short stories, is interesting, but ultimately unsatisfying. The blurb on the back names Taylor “A master of the modern snapshot” and they might well be right. The book is like a stack of Polaroids, taken by strangers and with no context to explain them. (Think Awkward Family Photos.) They are fascinating, funny, vaguely disturbing, but by themselves, they aren’t enough to tell a story.

As always, I wanted to love the book – I love short stories, in part
Aug 18, 2014 Lynn rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: real-life
Today’s post is on Flings by Justin Taylor. This is a series of short stories. It is 240 pages long and is published by Harper Collins. The cover is yellow with the title in red and the author’s name in black sideways on the cover. The intended reader is someone who likes literary fiction and short stories. There is strong language, sex/sexuality, and no violence in this collection. Adults for the best. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

From the back of the book- In a new suite of powerful and incisive st
Reeka (BoundbyWords)
As seen on my blog:

The only things I like short, or at least like them to feel that way, are my work shifts and lines. As a reader, I was never a fan of short stories, never felt like enough emotion or intent could be packed into a 3-10 page narrative. I know there are, in existence, so many fantastic short story works I need to experience, need to seek out and read. Flings by Justin Taylor was a good place for me to start, and just what I needed to kick start a love for shorter tales.

Flings is
S. Wilson
As the title of this collection (also the title of the first story) implies, the main theme running through Justin Taylor's Flings is that of relationships, both sexual and emotional. Friendships, marriages, crushes, and blood relations all come into play in short stories that (for the most part - there are some exceptions) focus on seemingly mundane or commonplace lives and situations, but in doing so clearly demonstrates through characterization and nuance how these events both contribute to ...more
Julie - Book Hooked Blog
I loved Taylor's style in these stories. They're so well done. Of course I had favorites ("Sungold" being my favorite), but the collection as a whole is just lovely. Several of the stories connect in small ways, and those connectors gave the whole work a sense of unity. The length of each story varies, but I feel like Taylor did a great job of ending each story at an appropriate moment. Nothing feels too long or too short for its own unique effect.

Entertainment Value
I'm such a fan of shor
Sarah Jamison
Disclaimer: Harper Collins provided me a review copy. All opinions are my own.

Flings, by Justin Taylor, suffers. It suffers in each story. It suffers as a whole. And it suffers, for me, by not being written by George Saunders. I am just a loser who read another, mind-boggling collection of short stories earlier this year and now Flings can't hope to live up.

The stories are nice. They start out with some difficulty and Taylor's style seems to be immersive-- just dump you into the story and if you
Ahmed Khalifa
Jan 07, 2015 Ahmed Khalifa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Flings comprises some 10-odd stories that dip into just about every social and economic stratum available. You've got narrators aged 20 through 74, males and females, poverty-stricken bachelors and wandering trust-fund babies. That in itself is probably the strength of Flings, the sheer scope, even though -as with any such goodie bag- some are bound to feel stronger than others.

The writing is really deft and conjures up some wonderful imagery but a bigger part of the appeal (for me) was how the
Meg - A Bookish Affair
"Flings" is a great collection of short stories by Justin Taylor. Each story is a wholly individual story. Each story is just a snapshot of different people's lives. Each of those lives is very different and unique. If you like short stories with vivid characters and great detail, you will enjoy this collection of interestingly detailed stories.

The real treat in this book is how Taylor is able to take all of these different characters and give them their own individual voices. Admittedly, I ofte
Jul 22, 2015 Matt rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I listened to this one via my phone on a long car trip over two days. I was concerned, given that on paper, Taylor can drop in a lot of characters without really introducing them, kinda en media res. But it wasn't so bad-- I suspect I missed some of the social detail that makes the world more realized, but in the listening, it kind of rolls along anyway. The stories are pretty plotted, so that still comes through, and Taylor doesn't always write all that lyrically-- his style can be very, I ...more
Nov 27, 2016 Faith rated it really liked it
This is a well written collection of stories. I particularly enjoyed the changes in both setting and and point of view from story to story, including the difficult second person. The flat fatalism of the characters is sad because it truly reflects this generatio, but the honesty of it is what keeps the book from being a depressing collection of gloom and doom, pity me stories. There are glimpses of the strength in these folks and just maybe a buried, but still burning, ember of hopes, dreams, ...more
I only liked two stories in Justin Taylor's Flings. They were 'Flings' and 'After Ellen'. I liked them the most since characters from the first story do appear in the second one. Everything else in this book was a wash. I don't get the appeal of reading about seriously screwed up people, as depicted in 'A Talking Cure' or a story about whatever the heck it is supposed to be about but I think maybe clementines in 'Adon Olam'. Nothing much made sense and I found this to be a boring collection of ...more
Christine Zibas
Jan 31, 2016 Christine Zibas rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In this accomplished collection of short stories, characters appear, disappear to new lives, and often reappear again. They are the unmoored, unsettled by the world and uncertainty around them, struggling to find their places in the world. Their locations range from small Midwestern towns to the Pacific Northwest, from Miami to Hong Kong. Mostly (but not always), they are young and uncertain what life has to offer, finding friendships more critical that career paths.

Yet, people and their emotion
May 17, 2015 Irene rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I liked this book a lot more than I expected to. I actually loved it. When I started the first story, “Flings” I wasn’t sure. I found the mixing POVs disorienting, and I also wondered if this was just going to be a book about college students fucking up their lives, which isn’t a bad thing in itself, but it can get tiresome if there’s nothing else going on, no point or grounding post. I progressed through the collection, I found myself trusting the author. The narrative voice was clear and ...more
I enjoyed these stories. I did. I think if I had read them one at a time, separately, this would have been a four-star review. However, reading them all at once made me think of them all as the same story. Which isn't true, of course-- he has a diverse array of ages, situations, etc. How the stories moved, I think, and the character's emotional space/arc seemed similar in each one. I'd still recommend it to a lot of people, especially those in their twenties (many of the stories dealt with "New ...more
Jul 31, 2014 Amy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: free-won
*Recieved through Goodreads Giveaway

Flings is a great look at the complicated, messy world of relationships. Ups and downs, positives and negatives. It touches on everything, with every type of relationship; friends, parents, siblings, spouses, boyfriends/girlfriends, name it's in there. I think it also explores personal identity and finding oneself, which is also relatable to pretty much everyone.

While the stories leave you wanting more; wanting to know more about these characters
Again, a disclaimer.
I am not a big short story fan.
This one got a great review in both Vanity Fair and Entertainment Weekly.
It is a nifty little collection, with just about every relationship pitfall anyone could ask for (and not ask for, but receive).
Warning: The first story is quite a doozy regarding the fleeting frivolities of misplaced affection. The ones that follow are equally memorable.
I felt like it was a bit of a slim volume, with the stories that Taylor puts forth here, you think tha
Aug 26, 2014 guiltlessreader rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a refreshing read of short stories highlighting the feeling of uncertainty, of drifting, of the question mark that is life. If I'd read this in my 20s I know I would totally fangirl Justin Taylor. Being older - ehem, I guess I will still fangirl ;)

Oh-so-relatable vignettes of common people, their mundane-ness capturing the "flings" we all have in life. A tight collection of short stories and an author to expect more great things from! Full review on my blog Guiltless Reading.
Nov 25, 2014 Cflack rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
An inconsistent but well written set of short stories. Taylor is very talented in his creation of detailed dioramas in each story. Some are better developed than others. For me, by far the best is "Carol, Alone". The world is created, the characters seem very real (even the alligator) and it is just a beautiful portrayal of an individual at a specific point in time with a beautiful open ended ending. The other one that I stood out was "Sungold" - it was very original and extremely funny - loved ...more
Jun 14, 2015 Evette rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A bit hard to get into sometimes, but this collection of short stories was definitely worth reading. Realistic, but with a hint of contemporary fantasy (not talking magic here) and very poignant for anyone who is living in their post-college (or at least post high-school) days. A bit out there at times, but I found myself not wanting to stop at just one story in one reading. Beautiful writing style; that one experimental story was hard to get into (second person is tricky).

All told, talented wr
Sep 18, 2014 Monika rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This collection of short stories started out on a high note for me, but instead of each story making me want to read more, I started to consider setting the collection aside. The stories in Flings that stuck with me were gems, but it wasn't enough to clear my overall disappointment. Read my full review of this title at A Lovely Bookshelf on the Wall.
Aug 17, 2014 Melissa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: blog-tours
I received an ARC of this book from the Publisher.
Rating=3.5 Stars

This is an collection of stories that deals with people who are at a crossroads in their lives. College students graduate and try to figure out what to do with their lives, a couple gets engages and is trying to navigate their physical relationship and a widow who is trying to deal with being alone for the first time in her life.

For the full review visit:
Jul 26, 2015 Rachel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
I'll admit it, I can't form my own opinion on this one. I need other people I know to read it so we can discuss. That being said, I read this book voraciously over two days in Vancouver, in coffee shops, at the ramen bar, and on the train.

Also, A lot of the references hit me hard because they were so specific to my life, or at least lives of people I have know: IMs, rilo kiley,
Kudos bars, the Hebrew song Adon Alam, etc.
Aug 15, 2014 Catherine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: physical-books
This was a bit different than my usual reading style,but I won it on Goodreads First Reads and figured I'd give it a go,and ended up loving it. I liked all the different,short stories. Some of them were a little odd and left me pondering,others kept me wishing they were longer. It was a great book,and I've recommended it to some friends already.
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name.

Justin Taylor is the author of the novel “The Gospel of Anarchy” and the story collection “Everything Here Is The Best Thing Ever.”

The Millions called “The Gospel of Anarchy” a “bold casserole of sensual encounter and deranged proclamation… Loudly, even rapturously, Taylor succeeds in making the clamoring passio
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