Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Gospel of Anarchy by Justin Taylor

The Gospel of Anarchy goes from a sexist softcore porn male fantasy tale of dumpster diving Floridian punks in Gainesville to magical realism...that centers around a cultish version of anarchist-Christianity...? After taking that turn it gets really boring. Like Jonathan Franzen or Mary McGarry Morris, the writing style is bleak, dystopic, vacant…not so much my thing...if this is a critique or depiction of the vast American suburban emptiness and alienation of sprawl, then ok but it feels sort of cheap, cliched and cynical. The characters are hopeless and don't seem fleshed out. Like, if we live in a giant hamster wheel of chain stores along the interstate…we are still human right? So where is the humanity in this story? As far as dystopia goes, I like Stepford Wives, because at least there is an analysis of power happening and it's funny and clever. I don't know if the mysticism of this book really gets to anything real. When I looked up the author it seems that he is kind of a poseur who doesn't get it...like alternative rock representing the underground to the mainstream…he lives in Brooklyn and supposedly no one in Gainesville has ever heard of him but he seems to get ok reviews and know a lot of MFA-ified literary people? As much as I hate to give a book a bad review in its entirely, I guess I have to give this one a thumbs down. I really didn't like it. Another reason to seek out punks who write fiction I guess.

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