Everything Here Is the Best Thing Ever: Stories
Justin Taylor's crystalline, spare, and oddly moving prose cuts to the quick. His characters are guided by misapprehensions that bring them to hilarious but often tragic impasses with reality: a high school boy's desire to win over a crush leads him to experiment with black magic, a fast-food employee preoccupied by Abu Ghraib becomes obsessed with a coworker, a Tetris pl...more
Sorry to have to tell you this, bro. I was happy to overlook the obvious points working against you - the quintessential hipster bio, that disturbing glint of naked ambition in your jacket photo, the cover puff quote by a former talent gone seriously awry (Padgett Powell*), the information that you are working on your first novel and that you live in Brooklyn. Because everyone deserves a chance, so I gave you one.
But you blew it, bro. Big time. Turns out you had absol ...more
I mean, I get it: you can't write a book that references Will Oldham and the Silver Jews and freegans (and, let's face it, be twenty-seven years old at the time of publication) and not get a handful of peop ...more
I'm all for listening to undergroun ...more
I sat down this morning to start ANOTHER collection of short stories, this one from author Justin Taylor. After completing it just a short 16 hours later, I was forced to admit two things: One, that I can really do some damage when I buckle down and focus on reading. Two, that I am also starting to enjoy short stories.
They are short and sweet. They get right to the point. There are no long-winded, uninteresting side-stories that pull you unwillingly away from the main plot. They don't ...more
"The shallow hole was surrounded by salvaged chairs and shaded by a blue canvas canopy they'd stolen from some resort because property was always already theft anyway, and plus they had really wanted that canopy" (17).
"Not having cable wasn't a statement. Maybe the statement was being made by the people who paid out a monthly portion of their slave wages for endless in ...more
I read almost every story twice. This collection is great, and for those who are skeptical of my biases, I read this before that and it blew me away, so there. My favorite story in EHITBTE, and one of my favorite (favorite seems weird to say about things that are good because they make you uncomfortable, so let's say one of the best) stories I've read anywhere, is "Jewels Flashing in ...more
Read the rest of my review here
Justin Taylor's sense of timing in some of the stories is just amazing. And he usually leaves out just enough.
It’s such a package of hipsterism that the collection itself nearly becomes meta, the epitome of Taylor’s description of Hot Topic packaging the conformist l ...more
Most of the stories are told in this immediacy of hardcore en media res, so that we are often in the midst of a social scene-- might be a romantic triangle, or a housing situation with a lot of roommates, etc-- when the drama kicks off. And Taylor rarely tells us explicitly what t ...more
And then I got to the last two stories, "Jewels Flashing in the Night of Time" and "Whistle Through Your Teeth and Spit". I didn't like the former, but I actually kind of hated "Whistle...". I didn't really get why people were ...more
There were some real gems in this collection, and Taylor is obviously a talented writer with more to come. But there was u ...more
One of the stories in this collection is called "Jewels Flashing in the Night of Time". I think that title is an apt description of the 15 stories in this collection. Although a slim volume, the stories contained herein have a crystalline quality like stars or jewels. I'm reminded of the phrase from Disney's Aladdin: "diamond in the rough". In a world of uninteresting literary creations, Justin Taylor has fashioned some flashing and valuable jewels.
These stories are like looking through windows...more
For me, the most frustrating part about these stories can be summed up with two points: (1) In almost every story, the characters are the same and speak in nearly identical first person voice. Some variety would have been nice. (2) Nothing really happens to the characters. They don't really do anythi ...more
This knot is a perfect introduction to Taylor’s world, where nearly every inhabitant complicates life by choosing the path of the most resistance. Sympathy gives way to horror ...more
"Jewels Flashing in the Night of Time" is not bad for its ideas but the writing is mostly Conrad, Bataille, and the Abu Ghraib reports so maybe Taylor has a niche there.
That's the second to last story and the last story "Whistle Through Your Teeth and Spit" actually shows a human relationship so maybe skip to t ...more
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 ...more