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 player attempts to beat his own record while his girlfriend sleeps and the world outside their window blazes to its end. Fearless and astute, funny and tragic, this collection heralds the arrival of a unique literary talent.
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.
What People are Saying About This
“The characters in Justin Taylor’s stories may be lost, unmoored, out of control, but their creator is astonishingly sure-handed. He unerringly locates the center of these centerless lives, and discerns the shape of their shapelessness.”
“Mr. Taylor has perfect touch, to frightening effect, does not presume, has power, and promises us new things. There is a debt paid to Donald Barthelme...and a strange undertow of Philip Roth, which makes for a new literary beast.”
Everything Here is the Best Thing Ever 3.3 out of 5based on
inaudible on LibraryThing
More than 1 year ago
Really undecided about this book. I liked some of the stories, but some of them fell really flat for me. Some of the characters were from subcultures/mileus that I'm roughly familiar with, and they didn't ring true.Still, I'm excited to read Taylor's forthcoming novel, and I think the story about the cat is great.
booksandwine on LibraryThing
More than 1 year ago
Everything Here Is The Best Thing Ever by Justin Taylor, besides being a book with an incredibly long title, is a collection of short stories, basically about hipsters being unemployed doing unglamourous things. The book is small, topping off at 185 pages. The stories are gritty. Some I related with and some I did not. Stylistically, Taylor is excellent. The words just seem to flow off the page. This book reminded me a bit of Chuck Palahniuk's writing. The people within are inherently flawed, I don't really care much for the characters, but I still want to know what happens because the words weave a spell. My favorite story within Everything Here is The Best Thing Ever was Jewels Flashing in the Night of Time which basically involves this guy playing Tetris during the apocalypse. Tetris plus world-ending gets a giant thumbs up from me. Aside from that, not much for me to say, as this was such a slim book without an overarching plot, or main characters. Just short stories, and if that's what you like, then I say, pick this book up. "It was so thorough, almost as if he were trying to say that if he could no longer work in an office then by God he would keep such a spotless and ordered home that the family would come to see how his lost job had been a good fortune in disguise." - pg. 47 Story of my life. I currently work one day per week as I'm waiting to hear back about being approved to sub, and my current job doesn't have the budget to give me more hours. Therefore, I clean and read all day. Seriously. "She is a magic trick and I am either the magician or the crowd" - pg. 155 Sparse, beautiful, me likey.
walterqchocobo on LibraryThing
More than 1 year ago
I was browsing the new books section at my library and saw this book with a great title. I am normally not a huge fan of short story collections but there was one called Tetris...how bad could it be?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 anything other than drink, do drugs and have sex. There is no growth and boring characters stay boring.There were a few good/strange stories that broke the mold like "Tetris" and "Go Down Swinging" (the anarchists were the most interesting characters in the entire book) but most of the time, I was waiting for something interesting and hoping the next story would do it but then I ran out of stories.
ericnguyen09 on LibraryThing
More than 1 year ago
Sometimes you really want to hate a writer.For example, one reason to hate Justin Taylor is that his name is kinda like Justin Bieber's. The Justin part is the part that gets you. Also he's bound to be a quirky hysterical realist, which (I've always believed) is a trend today, especially among writers of my generation.Yet Justin Taylor's debut is strong, albeit a bit uneven at points. But Taylor, at 28, brings a maturity in short story composition--a type Carveresque minimalism--that should be envy of every writer. See, for example, the opening of "A House in Our Arms:""We made it to New York.That's how we put it when we talk about it with each other, even though it means something different to each of us, and even though we're both pretty used to it by now, I came straight from school, worked some crap jobs, then landed a decent one. It's at a hedge fund and I hate it, at least theoretically. In practice I find the more time I spend doing it the less I feel one way or the other. It's just what I'm doing, what I do. I work with nice enogh people. They started me out as an assistant but I'm already almost a junior manager. Who knows where I might wind up if I stick around?"Like Carver, Taylor's narrators are aware of their own life standings. Yet unlike Carver, his characters these are younger people, kids who made it out from college and don't know what to do. Yet again, like Carver, there is a strong sense of floating here: these are stories of people who had the bad end of the deal, trying to figure out what to do. It's about class, yet it's not just about class.It's concerns floating: the states in-between in a relationship and not, between going home and going to a new place, between the decision of going and staying. For example, in "A House In Our Arms," the narrator contemplates his sexual friendship with his lesbian best friend, while at the same time, sleeping with a man. In "Tennesse" the narrator ends up back with his parents' broken home (his father's lost his job) after trying to find himself and failing. In "Weekend Away" a woman runs away from her current lover after recieving (and not answering) a call from a former boyfriend; when she comes back she tells him: "I know you don't like hearing it but it's true, that's what I was thinking. There are so many places I've never even seen....So why can't I let myself say yes?"Taylor's world is a world of conflation as well. Violence and sexual desire are the same ("Jewels Flashing in the Night Time); there is a difference between sex with someone you love and someone you might love, but you're not going to do much about it--or there isn't much you can do about it ("Whistle Through Your Teeth and Spit"). What is probably most refreshing about Taylor's writing is that he is fearless when it comes to sex. Compared to the male writers in Katie Rophie's essay, Taylor is pornographer: writing about bisexuality, threesomes, and phone sex; he writes it viscerally and with feeling.Of course, some might be turned off by this, as well as Taylor's possible use of bisexuality as a metaphor for general confusion, and some of his more experimental works--"Tetris" and "Finding Myself" are almost like prose poems, "Jewels Flashing in the Night Time" reminds me of Daniel Scott's "Fellow Feeling" (his only terrible story in his short story collection) but only slightly better done. Some of his stories also do what stories shouldn't (jumping point of view in "Whistle Through Your Teeth and Spit," as one example), but Taylor proves to be a skilled writer: he pulls it all off. He makes it work. He'll remind you of Carver and Gaitskill, only younger, and not a drunk (not yet anyway) or a prostitute (again, not yet).At the end, I still hate Justin Taylor. He wrote the book I wanted to write, before I got it written, and he wrote it better than I could have. It is more than enough reason to hate Justin Taylor.
More than 1 year ago
Some are good. Most are OK. A few are awful. None outstanding.
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