Tao Lin is Not a Vegan

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Great profile in The New York Observer of the much-debated (at least on the internet) author Tao Lin, whose latest novel, Richard Yates, is set for release in September. Richard Yates is the story of the difficult February/April romance (he’s 22, she’s 15) between two crazy kids named Haley Joel Osment and Dakota Fanning. But the characters bear little if no resemblance to the celebrities they are named for; they’re actually quasi-stand-ins for Lin and a teenage girl he met online when he was 22. It reads like a minimalist Lolita for the Gchat generation.

The Observer piece, by the always reliable Christian Lorentzen, is written in Lin’s easily imitated if impossibly mastered prose style, in which figurative language is not allowed. Lorentzen pokes gentle fun at Lin’s style, while also acknowledging the singularity of his voice which has, “advanced the novel by exposing its distortions.” But perhaps the most noteworthy piece of information to come out of the profile is the fact that Lin, despite rumors to the contrary, is not actually a vegan. There’s currently a pretty entertaining debate about Lorentzen’s piece on the lit blog HTMLGiant. Also, Lin discusses The New Yorker‘s 20 Under 40 list in the latest issue of Canteen magazine.