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FLINGS: Stories ~Justin Taylor

“And it’s true that the only thing the kids remember about most of this stuff is buying it: the jolt of commercial desire followed by the soft shock of success as the parental wallet opened – and then the getting bored.”  (page 94 ‘Mike’s Song’ of an uncorrected proof copy of the book)


We’ve got a dozen stories by a good writer in FLINGS and I very much enjoy short stories these days and I would call it a good read and an interesting experience.   FLINGS was just right for the business of my life in the autumn harvest and before the winter big read season.

The reader experiences an excerpt of the whole life story of a great many characters in FLINGS.  Although one character from a story as a secondary pivot character, finds his own chapter later on, this is not a group of connected stories like OLIVE KITTERIDGE  or WHAT THE ZHANG BOYS KNOW. What the characters have as a common thread is that they have left some place or state of being and are now trying to identify their next move and forward motion.  The characters all seemed like New Yorkers though much of the action took place in other locations such as Hong Kong, Portland,Oregon, Ohio, Canada and Tennessee.   I don’t know if I can say this but as the characters wander about in search of their new states of being, the writing has a driven aspect that keeps the reader moving page after page.

Lots of themes about academia, music and writing with an overall literary quality; fascinating to read about what young men think about women and college girls these days.  The movies too reveal a lot of just random sex, and never much about the meaning of life or the depth of communication or relationship possibilities.  Maybe they will just wander into the right place or the right person for them while trying on 6 or 7 at a time.   Life as performance art and auditions.   I lost interest in several stories because of this lack and actually several books recently because of this current writing trend.

Several of the characters are well developed because of the fine writing; there was a searching quality to many of the stories which left me sometimes searching myself, wanting more so I would create what I thought would happen next.  Limbo?  Younger writers like this wanting feeling, I do not want it in all twelve stories.  I had to dig to find humor even though several reviewers found it very fun.  We all search for connection and our spot in life just maybe we do not find it until as the Baptist’s in my town say: “He’s been called home.”

Justin Taylor is the author of the story collection Everything Here is the Best Thing Ever and the novel The Gospel of Anarchy.  He lives, writes and teaches in New York City.

Harper Collins site for Taylor
Taylor’s Website
TLC book tours

It was a pleasure to read FLINGS and I am thankful for the opportunity.

“Every choice makes us and remakes us.  What’s incredible, Danielle thought, is not that we might have been somebody else, or nobody, but rather that despite everything we are somehow still ourselves.” (Page 207 of uncorrected copy.)

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7 Responses to “FLINGS: Stories ~Justin Taylor”

  1. Sara Says:

    A fair review, Patricia. I previewed the book at Amazon and struggled with it, even the preview section. It’s not that the writing isn’t good; it’s more to do with my expectation of books and how they’re written, which probably has a lot to do with my age.

    That said, I absolutely loved the quote you pulled out for the end of your review. It’s beautifully written.

    I admire any person who is able to put together short stories into a collection that becomes a book. It’s not easy to do and I wish Justin Taylor great success with his books.
    Sara recently posted..SPC: Wailing Woman Uncovered at BeachMy Profile

    Patricia Reply:

    Sara,
    This was an interesting book to get into for me also, and yet it was the difference that I ended up liking so much.
    I think the book will do very well and I always attempt to keep in mind that it is someone’s special work – shared with us – lots of investment by the author.

    That quote is from my least favorite story in the book – truly I thought this is boring and time consuming, then wow I came across this gem of wisdom and was so happy to have read it all the way through.

    I have a couple more short story reviews coming up before the end of the year…One is one weight loss…the titles are getting to be as much fun as the books
    Thanks for you good words Sara
    Patricia recently posted..LUST: Sensual Poems (unabridged) ~Diana Raab (Narrated by Kate Udall)My Profile

  2. Justin Taylor, author of Flings, on tour August/September 2014 | TLC Book Tours Says:

    […] Wednesday, September 10th: Patricia’s Wisdom […]

  3. Heather J. @ TLC Book Tours Says:

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this book for the tour.

    Patricia Reply:

    you’re welcome – my pleasure
    Patricia recently posted..LUST: Sensual Poems (unabridged) ~Diana Raab (Narrated by Kate Udall)My Profile

  4. Laurie Buchanan Says:

    Patricia — As always, I respect your opinion. With that in mind, I going to take a pass on this read.
    Laurie Buchanan recently posted..Majestic WingsMy Profile

    Patricia Reply:

    Laurie,
    I did like the title the best! :)

    What are you reading right now?
    Patricia recently posted..LUST: Sensual Poems (unabridged) ~Diana Raab (Narrated by Kate Udall)My Profile