Halfway through “Estrellas y Rascacielos,” the third story in Justin Taylor’s collection Everything Here is the Best Thing Ever, there’s an exchange of dialogue that’s at once unexpected and critically important to what follows, both for that story and the rest of the book. The scene is a anarchists’ party at a punk house, where stolen beer is imbibed and ideologically inconsistent tomes sentenced to burn.
It’s an excellent collection: Taylor manages to write scenes of daily life that ring true while unobtrusively raising larger philosophical questions. His interview for the Times’ Paper Cuts blog expands on this, and makes me even more excited for his novel, expected to see release next year:
I’m interested in the boundaries – if there are any – between religion and politics, faith and fanaticism, and what happens when those boundaries break down. But I also wanted to explore this very specific and fleeting moment in our cultural history, when the cross-pollination of early ’90s slacker ethos with the pre-millennial notion that we were living at or after “the end of history” produced some remarkable bodies of utopian lifestyle-politics.
(Taylor’s conversation with Kyle Minor about Joshua Cohen’s A Heaven of Others is worth citing here as well.)