While I’m often wary of people with two first names (much the same way I’m nervous around teetotalers), I find Justin Taylor to be a pretty swell literary dude. His collection of short stories, Everything Here is the Best Thing Ever was one of my favourite books to come out last year and this here newish novel has also smoothed a groove into a small pocket of my heart. Slipping between POVs, messing around with the meaning of belief systems and personal relationships while writing up a damn accurate account of a punk house in the late 90s is no easy feat, but JT (sorry, we don’t have to go with this, but just let me test it out, okay?) has done it. Ten out of ten anarchy symbols for him.
This reminded me of this complicated, interesting, yet tragic broomstick-thin punk kid I knew in the late 90s who lived a similar life (and dreamed it was much more similar I’m sure - there are so many sex scenes and orgies in this book if that entices anyone further) and I always assumed he just disappeared into his spiked leather jacket, never to be seen again. But I saw him at No Frills the other day buying a gallon of milk, so at least I know he’s getting some vitamin D and calcium.