Jessica's Reviews > The Gospel of Anarchy

The Gospel of Anarchy by Justin  Taylor
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's review
Sep 27, 2011

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bookshelves: 2011
Read in September, 2011

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Taylor's novel is about a group of anarchists (punks, hippies, etc.) who become anarChristians -- defiers of authority who somehow end up following the biggest authority of all. The idea itself is really interesting. Even the title brings together two contradictory elements, and many reviewers have admitted they bought the book on title alone.

I had a really difficult time judging just how serious this novel was. The descriptions, thoughts, and actions of the anarchists seemed so much like caricature that I spent the majority of the book thinking it was a parody. Looking back I suppose it was in earnest. And if not a parody, then all the long-winded discussions over philosophy, the bad poetry, the railings over people who actually buy food, the existential conversations with no one...are no longer funny, but just incredibly boring. Like sticking your head into a room of high first-year philosophy majors and being forced to listen to their ramblings. All I'm really hearing is "blah blah the man blah blah bourgeoisie blah blah oh man you should hear them live they're so much better live."

That isn't to say the novel was a waste of time. Taylor's writing is masterful and his style unique. He flows in and out of tense and POV mid-paragraph, and he makes it work. It's a style I've never really encountered and I like it a lot. I have a feeling I'll be checking out his short story collection, Everything Here is the Best Thing Ever, soon.

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