The Gospel of Anarchyby Justin Taylor
“The Gospel of Anarchy is a beautiful, searching and sometimes brutally funny novel. Justin Taylor writes with fierce precision and perfect balance.” —Sam Lipsyte, author of The/em>/em>
“A feverish, fearless writer.” —Christine Schutt, author of All Souls, finalist for the 2009 Pulitzer Prize
“The Gospel of Anarchy is a beautiful, searching and sometimes brutally funny novel. Justin Taylor writes with fierce precision and perfect balance.” —Sam Lipsyte, author of The Ask
Following his critically acclaimed short story collection Everything Here Is the Best Thing Ever, Justin Taylor’s mesmerizing debut novel explores the eccentricities, insights, and unexpected grace found in a motley crew of off-beat anarchists, and their quest to achieve utopia in a crumbling Florida commune. In the vein of Chris Adrian, Padgett Powel, and Hunter Thompson, Taylor delivers a shrewd, cerebral, and often wickedly humorous vision of reality on every leaf of the mirthfully absurd The Gospel of Anarchy.
A cult emerges from a punk/hippie sanctuary in this mordant first novel from the author of the story collectionEverything Here Is the Best Thing Ever(2010).
Like other college towns, Gainesville, Fla., is a haven for alternative lifestyles. David is slow to catch on, but in his junior year, everything changes for this liberal arts major. A relationship ends; he loses interest in his courses; he stays home masturbating before his laptop, then throws it in the tub in self-disgust. Salvation comes when he runs into two Dumpster divers, Thomas and Liz.He knows Thomas from their suburban Miami childhood. They take him back to Fishgut, their dilapidated house with its floating population of punks. There he meets Katy, and his emancipation is complete. He's dropped out. She's a generous earth-mother type, as willing to share her body with this newcomer as with her girlfriend Liz. (Taylor writes sex wonderfully well.) She's also a self-styled Anarchristian, happily blending anarchy and Christianity, unlike those uptight Catholic students at the church reception they attend for a goof (and for the free food). What really fires Katy up is her discovery of a notebook buried in their yard. It belonged to Parker, Fishgut's mysterious founder. Katy takes its religious and philosophical ramblings as the ultimate truth, the Gospel. David, now her ardent disciple, edits it with her into a pamphlet, perfect for the Millennium (the story is set in 1999). Not everyone is sold; Thomas, an atheist Jew, leaves Fishgut for the Battle of Seattle after maliciously inserting a line of bull into the Gospel. Taylor's nimble analysis of these schisms recalls T.C. Boyle'sDrop City, but he lacks Boyle's sense of direction. That might have taken us to Parker, who remains an enigma, while Katy's further development stalls. Excerpts from the Gospel serve as filler, and momentum drains away among a variety of voices.
Taylor nails The Scene, but at the expense of the story.
- HarperCollins Publishers
- Publication date:
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- NOOK Book
- File size:
- 385 KB
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Meet the Author
Justin Taylor is the author of the story collection Everything Here Is the Best Thing Ever and the novel The Gospel of Anarchy. He lives in New York City.
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Occasionally compelling but essentially a pseudo-intellectual pile of crap. It was all I could do to force myself to get to the end. When it ended 7 pages before I expected it to my day was made.