Richard Yates

Richard Yates

3.3 9
by Tao Lin
     
 

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In a startling change of direction, cult favorite Tao Lin presents a dark and brooding tale of illicit love that is his most sophisticated and mesmerizing writing yet.

Richard Yates is named after real-life writer Richard Yates, but it has nothing to do with him. Instead, it tracks the rise and fall of an illicit affair between a very young writer and his

Overview

In a startling change of direction, cult favorite Tao Lin presents a dark and brooding tale of illicit love that is his most sophisticated and mesmerizing writing yet.

Richard Yates is named after real-life writer Richard Yates, but it has nothing to do with him. Instead, it tracks the rise and fall of an illicit affair between a very young writer and his even younger—in fact, under-aged—lover. As he seeks to balance work and love, she becomes more and more self-destructive in a play for his undivided attention. His guilt and anger builds in response until they find themselves hurtling out of control and afraid to let go.

Lin's trademark minimalism takes on a new, sharp-edged suspense here, zeroing in on a lacerating narrative like never before —until it is almost, in fact, too late.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
This slick yet affecting novel depicts the manically self-absorbed days and nights of "Dakota Fanning" and "Haley Joel Osment." That the two share names with famous child stars, and that the title references a celebrated novelist, indicates our specific moment in time, but otherwise this is not a book "about" either the actors or the author. Born in 1983, Lin (Shoplifting from American Apparel) portrays a generation unable to engage and left lost, lonely, and dangerously obsessive as a result. Gmail chat and text message appear in heavy rotation, as the young lovers become more and more incapable of anything beyond their melancholic fixation with each other. The prose is rhythmic and lean, but strangely captivating, ultimately serving to echo the lack of interest the characters seem to have in anything other than themselves. Following them proves disconcerting and exhausting, especially as nothing keeps happening. Lin's sensibility is hip and ironic, but also feels ominously clairvoyant. As the author himself has become something of an icon to the very generation he portrays, one gets the sense that the disaffected youth are in on something the rest of us can only read about; given how bleak that world appears, reading about it feels relentless enough.
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From the Publisher
“[G]enuinely funny...accurate, often filthy dispatches on what it is to be young and pushing against the world.”
—Charles Bock, The New York Times

"Lin captures certain qualities of contemporary life better than many writers in part because he dispenses with so much that is expected of current fiction."
David Haglund, The London Review of Books

Richard Yates is neither pretentious nor sneering nor reflexively hip. It is simply a focused, moving, and rather upsetting portrait of two oddballs in love.”
—Danielle Dreillinger, The Boston Globe

"[A] batty and precisely penned novel....[Tao Lin] has, in methodically stacked increments, become a legitimate writing presence."
Carrie Battan, The Boston Phoenix

"[Lin's] lean and often maniacal sentences propel the work forward with a slanted momentum. What first seems like a stock tale of romance gone sour evolves into a parable about the fickleness of human desire and the futility of detachment when it comes to love."
Time Out New York

Richard Yates is a moving, very funny, discomforting, and heartbreakingly life-affirming meditation on extremes—extreme alienation, extreme intimacy, extreme confusion, extreme expectations—that reads like a meticulously and lovingly crafted collaboration between a weirder Ernest Hemingway and a more philosophically-minded Jean Rhys.”
James Frey, author of Bright Shiny Morning and A Million Little Pieces

Richard Yates is hilarious, menacing, and hugely intelligent. Tao Lin is a Kafka for the iPhone generation. He has that most important gift: it’s impossible to imagine anyone else writing like he does and sounding authentic. Yet he has already spawned a huge school of Lin imitators. As precocious and prolific as he is, every book surpasses the last. Tao Lin may well be the most important writer under thirty working today.”
—Clancy Martin, author of How To Sell

“[Richard Yates] is like a ninety-foot pigeon. You’ve never seen anything like it before, and yet it is somehow exactly like the world we live in.”
—Daniel Handler, author of Adverbs

“It would be easy to say that Richard Yates is Tao Lin’s best book yet. Others have said it. Plainly, however, it’s not—Richard Yates only proves that Tao’s work, as it should, undoes any pretensions to ‘best’ or ‘worst.’”
—HTMLGIANT

“Tao Lin writes from moods that less radical writers would let pass - from laziness, from vacancy, from boredom. And it turns out that his report from these places is moving and necessary, not to mention frequently hilarious.”
—Miranda July, author of No One Belongs Here More Than You

“Do you read Tao Lin and think ‘I love this! What is it?’ Perhaps it is the curious effect of a radically talented, fecund and tender mind setting down a world sans sense or consequence.”
—Lore Segal, author of the Pulitzer-Prize nominated Shakespeare’s Kitchen

 “Fascinating and articulate in a way that people my age (incl. um, like, you know, myself) rarely are.”
—Emily Gould, author of And The Heart Says Whatever
 
“Prodigal, unpredictable...impossible to ignore.”
Paste Magazine
 
“A master of understatement–or, rather, of statement.”
Vice Magazine

“A deadpan literary trickster.”
The New York Times

“Lin’s fiction is a wonderfully deadpan joke.”
The Independent

“Deeply smart, funny, and heads-over-heels dedicated.”
—Sam Anderson, New York Magazine

“[A] parable about the fickleness of human desire and the futility of detachment when it comes to love.”
Time Out New York

“Lin’s sympathetic fascination with the meaning of life is full of profound and often hilarious insights.”
Publishers Weekly

“Meet literature's Net-savvy new star.”
 Salon

"There is danger and sadness in his work, but not defeat."
 —Hillel Italie, The Associated Press

Library Journal
In this experimental work named after a novelist, the debt owed to Yates comes mostly in terms of theme—with its broken homes and eating disorders it updates the suburban ennui of an earlier generation. Lin (Shoplifting from American Apparel) presents the story of a relationship between a 22-year-old New York writer (Haley Joel Osment) and a troubled, underage New Jersey high school girl (Dakota Fanning)—a relationship that takes place as much by email and chat as it does face to face. For all of the publisher's attempts to promote the novel as a provocative tale of illicit love, the couple's relationship is striking mostly for its sheer ordinariness. It's not helped by the stilted, deadpan mode of speech the characters often employ, which tends to distance the reader. VERDICT Lin appears to be trying to make points about identity, the media-fueled myths people create of their lives, and the existential emptiness of the suburbs but seems unwilling or unable to develop any of these ideas. More gimmicky than insightful, this work leaves the reader ultimately wondering what the point is.—Lawrence Rungren, Merrimack Valley Lib. Consortium, North Andover, MA

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781935554158
Publisher:
Melville House Publishing
Publication date:
09/07/2010
Pages:
256
Sales rank:
751,825
Product dimensions:
7.76(w) x 11.28(h) x 0.53(d)

Meet the Author

Tao Lin is the author of the novels Richard Yates and Eeeee Eee Eeee, the novella Shoplifting from American Apparel, the story collection Bed, and the poetry collections cognitive-behavioral therapy and you are a little bit happier than i am. Translations of his books have been published around the world, including in France, Germany, Spain, Japan, Norway, Serbia, South Korea, China, and Taiwan. He lives in Manhattan.

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Richard Yates 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I bought this book fully realizing it was written by Tao Lin. I like some of the other stuff he writes, but only because it is miserable and it feels like people can probably relate to it. I hope no one can relate to this book. The synopsis is inaccurate. Dakota Fanning does not become more destructive in order to get Haley's attention. She becomes destructive because she is already mentally ill and he is controlling. He criticizes her often for being obese and doing nothing about it, but he only offers one solution and becomes angry when she does not follow it. He starts making her account for every moment in her day, even if it is an unexplained fifteen minutes. He tells her to kill herself many times. They make rape jokes, even after Dakota reveals that she was, in fact, raped. I would have liked this book more if it was framed differently. I do not think this type of relationship should be romanticized, as it is extremely abusive. Yes, I know that Tao Lin writes from boredom and dark places and depression and whatevertheheck people like to say, and just writing something does not mean you're inherently romanticizing it, but this is TAO LIN we're talking about. It is romanticized, and it's disgusting.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
another crock of fakery for all you pseudo intellects out there. enjoy (or not).
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