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3.30  ·  Rating details ·  6,133 ratings  ·  785 reviews
"At some point, maybe twenty minutes after he'd begun refreshing Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, Gmail in a continuous cycle - with an ongoing, affectless, humorless realisation that his day 'was over' - he noticed with confusion, having thought it was early morning, that it was 4:46PM."

Taipei is an ode - or lament - to the way we live now. Following Paul from New York, where h
Paperback, 248 pages
Published June 4th 2013 by Vintage
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Dan Plonsey I wouldn't characterize the style as bland at all. It is unique. Everyday events are described in extraordinary detail, along with the narrator's refl…moreI wouldn't characterize the style as bland at all. It is unique. Everyday events are described in extraordinary detail, along with the narrator's reflections and analysis, rich in unexpected connections and juxtapositions. The novel appears to be entirely autobiographical, but at the same time, there is a serious lack of affect: the author speaks of himself as a robot or zombie various times. Whether the author truly experiences the world as he narrates it is a matter of some curiosity to me, but I am enjoying the book for the way his "boring story" is rendered. (less)

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Megan Boyle
Oct 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Allow me to inteoduce my review: The past few times I've been on Molly or ecstasy I've wanted to review Taipei because I remember Tao encouraging people to review this book while peaking on MDMA or adderall

Here's what happened, introduction part 2: rememvwred the review in the bathtub (introduction part 3: I am peaking on ecstasy in a bathtub at a friend's house), decided 'the people in the next room don't need to know what I'm doing, they are talking to each other so maybe they won't notice,' w
Keaven Fadness
Oct 21, 2013 rated it liked it
This was the longest Erowid report I've ever read. ...more
Dec 27, 2012 rated it liked it
Taipei – The Charlie Rose interview

Charlie Rose: When Tao Lin graduated New York University in 2005, he began a career which pumped new life into the world of contemporary letters. His terse, tongue-in-cheek prose style has attracted critics and imitators in equal numbers, and his books, with provocative titles like Eeeee Eee Eeee and Shoplifting from American Apparel, have garnered praise and sidelong glances in the same way. The new book is called Taipei; I’m here with Tao Lin.

Tao Lin: Thank
Jul 24, 2013 rated it did not like it
A great part of this review is in dialogue with the recent interview Tao had with Michael Silverblatt at Bookworm. Usually the books that I have given one star to have been books that made me mad or infuriated me. Books that were just a waste. This book is just a simple and definitive "did not like." My main point being is that, while I have literary reservations with this novel, I mostly didn't like it because of my taste preference.

Starting off, I think this book has a lot of similarity to Br
Michael Seidlinger
Mar 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
Ultimately, because of what it explores, Taipei is not a pleasant novel to swallow. It pulls you in and places you in the same back-and-forth conversations and awkward strolls through scenarios that have progressed past the point of being anything but awkward.

Awkwardness and confusion seep through every sentence and, as a result, Taipei becomes the novel you initially might not want it to become. In the same way a person develops expectations for a person they just met, the reader begins to exp
Stephen Durrant
Jul 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
Plenty of good and bad has been written about the Taiwanese-American author Tao Lin and his recent novel "Taipei," and I had read enough of such criticism to suspect that this relatively conservative reader "of a certain age" would have real difficulty entering Tao's avant-garde world. I was pleasantly surprised. Yes, as others have noted, Tao Lin, insofar as this novel can be read as thinly disguised autobiography, is maddeningly self-obsessed. If, for example, you pick up this book thinking yo ...more
Sam Pink
Feb 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
oh man, there;s soemthing yu can have a feeling and a tao lin was important for making big a lot in the same dnio!
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Mar 19, 2013 rated it did not like it
Recommended to Jenny (Reading Envy) by: PW 2/25/13
Sorry, I can't finish it. I had it on my device for a month and would dip in and out, hoping it would start capturing me, and did make it halfway through before abandoning it. I really wanted to like it the way the Publishers Weekly reviewer did, but I found it self-indulgent and far too specific/repetitive about drug dosages to be halfway interesting. After one chapter, the routine of new city + drugs + new girl to sleep with + new book reading with warning e-mails from publisher and/or parent ...more
Dany Salvatierra
Aug 19, 2013 rated it did not like it
When I arrived in New York City in late June, it was almost impossible not to stumble onto articles regarding Tao Lin's latest effort, or to see its glossy cover in every single bookstore display. A couple of weeks later, when I finally bought "Taipei" at Urban Outfitters (of all places), I read the first pages on the line to the register, thinking that maybe it would get better on the next chapters. I was wrong.

The whole novel can be resumed like this: a bunch of kids doing drugs in a perfect w
Jun 10, 2013 rated it liked it
How convenient it would be to hate this. I didn't...
It's complicated.

Nonetheless, Lydia Kiesling's hatchet job on this in The Millions is still the best book review I've read all year. I don't really want to hear about new American fiction at the moment but I still look at the site sometimes to see if she's written anything new; this might be the first time I've been a fan of a literary critic* the way I liked some music critics in my teens.

Tao Lin's style here is much improved on the banal bi
Stephen McDowell
Jan 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
notes for a forthcoming review of 'taipei' by tao lin:

awareness that the majority of events in this book occurred immediately after i first met tao is, i think, causing me to perceive events between the present version of my life and the version of my life that existed preceding, in a fluid, almost saddening manner, as if orchestrated, or an intentional, extensive distortion of a linear, retroactively clear universal necessity to transport me from one state of near-debilitating depression, to an
Ruby  Tombstone Lives!
This is an interior monologue. There. That's the one piece of information I think you need to know before going into Teipei. If you understand that, you understand where the author's coming from.

Is it honest? Yes. There's no denying that if you transcribed your own inner monologue word for word, it probably wouldn't be too different from this, in style if not substance (abuse).
Is it self-indulgent? Fuck yeah. It's an interior monologue. That's what they are - the self. Indulging.
Is it good....
Ben Loory
Jun 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
wow. kind of a quantum leap beyond his last book. it's completely serious, non-cutesy... not hilarious (which was the last book's strong point), but also never boring... just totally hypnotic and unsettling... really not what i expected at all. even lives up to the cover! ...more
Sep 14, 2013 rated it did not like it
Ever wonder what it's like to be a Brooklyn hipster who has nothing better to do than pop pills and sample pretty much every drug one can get their hands on, in an effort overcome one's social anxieties and find substance in a world whose meaning seems lost to them?

If so, then perhaps you'd like this book!

I, however, found Lin's thinly-veiled autobiographical "novel" to be a tiresome Bret Easton Ellis knock-off. This type of thing has been done before...many, many times.

The 240 or so pages cou
Erik Evenson
Sep 13, 2013 rated it liked it
There's a scene about 80 pages into Taipei that summed this book up for me. Here it is:

"We had a specific goal, I remember," said Paul. "What was it?"
"I don't know," said Daniel after a few seconds.
"We were just talking about it."
"I remember something," Daniel said absently.
"Oh yeah, selling books," Paul said.
"Let's do that," said Daniel.
"We just actually forgot our purpose, then regained it," said Paul grinning. "We still kept moving at the same speed, when we had no goal."
"Jesus," said Daniel
Dec 27, 2013 rated it did not like it
A few thoughts just because a book is well written or brings something new to the table doesn't mean that it's good or worth your time. To sum it up some this the most self-centered , self-involved writing I have come across, if anything positive can be said about this book is that it hits the nail in the head in it's portrait of NYC Hipsters/Yuppies a whole generation or so called subculture that is totally disconnected to anything that's not an electronic device, the type of people who seem to ...more
Amar Pai
Jul 13, 2013 rated it liked it
For me, reading Taipei was much like reading Ulysses. Wait, come back! All I mean is: the reading experience itself was difficult and not particularly "fun," but nevertheless I'm glad I'm persevered to the end, and feel like it was worthwhile and that parts of it rang true in the way that great fiction does.

It's the whole question of "difficult literature," innit. I tend to quickly toss any book that feels like a slog, cos life is short and there are too many good books out there to waste time o
May 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2013
Tao Lin is like a robot who is trying his hardest to understand human emotion. Or maybe a wooden puppet who yearns, more than anything, to turn into a real boy. Paul, the point of view character in Taipei, tries to feel, but he has a hard time pulling it off. He and his friends buy groceries, go to movies, have conversations, do drugs, have sex, get married, go on trips, and film themselves with their Macbooks. No matter what they’re doing, it’s all flat and bloodless. Dramatic emotions, Paul fe ...more
Jul 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
I liked the unusual rhythm through the book, it was veiled in a very relaxed manner, the drug use, the dating, the literary life that Paul leads; it was different from what I usually read but enjoyable. The ending was especially surprising in comparison to the tone of the story, it actually made me chuckle.

This is East meets West with Paul and his modern life being blended back with that of his parents in Taipei as Paul travels and talks about his work and his books while constantly high and on
M.P. Johnson
Jul 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
A New Kind Of Drug Narrative

Yeah, Internet, blah blah blah... What struck me about this book is how there's no shoehorning in of drug-related danger as the pathetic narrator scores all sorts of drugs and freely uses them in the most unexciting ways possible. Just straight boring drug use. It's realistic. The danger present in William S. Burrough's and Hubert Selby Jr.'s stories just isn't there anymore, or at least not like it presumably was then (yeah, I know goofing around with prescription dr
Sep 10, 2013 rated it did not like it
I apologize to my friends who loved this (and loaned me the book), but I absolutely hated every minute of it. I was so happy to be finished with it! Reading about the vapid lives of privileged hipsters in Williamsburg is not my idea of a good time. I didn't care about the characters, their thoughts, their various drugs of choice - any of it. I thought the writing was repetitive and boring (I will never use the words grin or grinning again!), and there basically was no story. I'm looking for more ...more
Dec 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
i expected to hate this given my experiences of tao lin at readings and lit events; but found it captivating, if at times maddening. appropriate that bret easton ellis blurbed it -- this book reminds me of nothing more than Less than Zero - or maybe The Rules of Attraction, they kind of blur together for me -- except here the bleakness and interpersonal alienation are countered by and in tension with not so much an earnest desire for connection as an earnest desire for an earnest desire for conn ...more
Aug 23, 2013 rated it liked it
Tao Lin’s Teipei could be a Trojan horse bringing alt-lit into the mainstream, or it could be a rejection of the form by its most acclaimed proponent. Even before its UK release, the novel has polarised opinion; appropriately for a piece of literature so concerned with social media use, the amount of internet-chat it has generated makes it extremely difficult to come to Taipei with an open mind. It is basically impossible to disassociate the author from the work - the novel’s protagonist Paul is ...more
Dec 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
I can understand how this book might be offputting to some, but I love this kind of close third-person storytelling, which I've always felt brings us closer to the character than a first-person telling does. I also find the detached filter through which Paul (the main character of Taipei) views his world, his experiences, and his own body to be very compelling and oddly appealing. Maybe that's because, even though I do not have experience with drugs, I can relate to that detachment. I guess I co ...more
Nov 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: tao
I like this book. I can read this book in any mood and enjoy it, I think.
The words all have meaning that my brain can process. After I read the words I feel emotions. Each poem makes me feel emotion.

I will read this again later on and probably more times later on.
Alejandro Saint-Barthélemy
Mar 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: xxi
This is a contemporary art book. By this I mean that it may lack beauty, quality and depth, however, it's not meant to have those qualities in the first place, but modernity (New York, Apple products, social networks), style (oriental and/or Pessoan alike emphasis on little things, thought processes, emotions…), and something shocking about it (drugs). That being said, Tao Lin has raised the bar in the terms of quality, and this is by far his best written book. I cannot picture anybody expecting ...more
Marcus Speh
Bought "Taipei" by Tao Lin today. Reading it with great pleasure so far. Read it on the electric car, read it on the Underground, read it while walking home even though my bag pack was very, very heavy (with Chinese food!). I think I will do a review for my blog or for another place (whoever wants it). I did not quite expect to like the book this much. I should've trusted Frank Hinton who's a good egg. I realised why Alt Lit gets to me: I only started writing/publishing four years ago so I'm als ...more
Anna Xu
Feb 12, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: heirlooms, favourites
dear tao lin: if u are reading this, thank u for writing this book

It’s been soooo long since i enjoyed a book this much, easily one of my favs of all time. Gave me life but suspiciously my depression also flared up so while i really enjoyed reading this i also couldn’t wait to finish reading this so i could become a functional and mentally stable human being again. Tao lin reminds me that the sheer force and desire to write is enough to write things sometimes. I felt really energised by his writ
Jan 23, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: new-york
This book is incredibly boring. The central character is an author in his late 20s living in modern day New York. He goes to Whole Foods and buys pre-cut fruit and ingredients for weird salads. He goes to parties. He talks to his friends over Gmail. He goes to book readings. Oh yeah, and he does a ton of drugs while doing all the above listed things. The central character also seems to be entirely socially inept. So on top of the tedium of this story (or lack thereof) are painfully awkward, bord ...more
Jul 04, 2013 rated it liked it
I'm still struggling with how to rate Taipei by Tao Lin. A lot of books I give 3 stars are either meh or not very well-written but fun. I pretty much hated most of this book but I did finish it. I was somehow intrigued enough by the writing to remain engaged, even though I found myself rooting for the main character to overdose. Soon. As well as his girlfriend, other friends, acquaintances, and by the end, even myself. Although I don't do drugs, this book made me want to, just to get away from t ...more
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Book Club: Taipei 1 5 Jan 07, 2018 02:26AM  
What is the allure of this book? 4 97 Feb 04, 2014 06:11PM  

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Tao Lin is the author of Trip: Psychedelics, Alienation, and Change (2018), Taipei (2013), Richard Yates (2010), Shoplifting from American Apparel (2009), cognitive-behavioral therapy (2008), Eeeee Eee Eeee (2007), Bed (2007), you are a little bit happier than i am (2006), and Selected Tweets (2015). He edits Muumuu House. Feel free to follow him on Twitter, Instagram, and Medium, and to read his ...more

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