[Tao] Lin is some kind of eerie, forlorn observer, able to brutally and honestly record the uncomfortable and systematic, alienable interactions of my generation. It’s ugly to read and yet perfect.
I’ve crested the halfway point of “Taipei” by Tao Lin, and all I can say is wow… this is as unabashed and earnest account of “hipsters”—my generartion’s gift to the world, of which I am in number—without any scorn, or vitriol. It is simply honest, telling, and horrifying. That’s the wonderful thing about my generation is that we—the hipster—don’t need to be attacked or lampooned. Left to our own devices we do a marvellous job of it anyway.
This truth is in stark, easy to pick-up but mortifying to digest paragraphs in Taipei, nestled between as many run-ons and em-dashes as one could possibly put to page. This self-negating malaise that Paul propels himself—or rather, allows to propel around him—will resonate with anyone who lived a similar life, or narrowly escaped it.
I don’t know if the writing itself is all that good, it’s certainly syntactically a nightmare, but it reads like the life of my generation should, a deep, beautiful prose that manages to convey very little with almost self-congratulation for its bloated word count. All I can say is that I appreciate that approach, because, again, it feels earnest and makes it very hard for me to be judgemental.