Tao Lin’s Taipei is far from the most pleasant book to read but it is a compelling one. I finished reading it this morning. It’s all drugs and travel and casual relationships. The drugs were the most omnipresent activity, really—all MDMA and coke and Xanax. Pills constantly. That was the hardest and in many ways the most tiring part of the book to read and could border on trite (intentionally, I suppose, which doesn’t make it feel any less trite for the reader).
But the human moments were in there. The characters managed to have conversations that did rate as truly interesting. Perhaps what I liked most weren’t even the real relationship dramas so much as the emotional confusion, angst, and playacting that accompanies the start of a potential relationship, the most casual, exploratory part of casual dating. And the references were up-to-the-minute in the blog sense in a way that most books never would be, which I think I liked? Not sure whether people will know what Goodreads or Jezebel are in 30 or 60 years but it’s fun seeing the names in a book now.