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Brandon Taylor (2)

Autor(a) de Real Life

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4+ Works 1,348 Membros 45 Críticas

About the Author

Image credit: William J. Adams/The Guardian

Obras por Brandon Taylor

Real Life (2020) 907 exemplares
Filthy Animals (2021) 267 exemplares
The Late Americans (2023) 172 exemplares

Associated Works

Not That Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture (2018) — Contribuidor — 670 exemplares
Kink: Stories (2021) — Contribuidor — 205 exemplares
Everyday People: The Color of Life--a Short Story Anthology (2018) — Contribuidor — 41 exemplares


Conhecimento Comum

Data de nascimento
20th century
Locais de residência
Iowa City, Iowa, USA
University of Wisconsin-Madison
University of Iowa (Writers' Workshop)
Meredith Kaffel Simonoff (DeFiore & Company)

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Brandon Taylor is the senior editor of Electric Literature's Recommended Reading and a staff writer at Literary Hub. His writing has received fellowships from Lambda Literary Foundation, Kimbilio Fiction, and the Tin House Summer Writer's Workshop. He holds graduate degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Iowa, where he was an Iowa Arts Fellow at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop in fiction.




Shortlisted for the Booker Prize; Taylor's debut novel for me is uneven, with insightful and smartly written passages intermixed with overwritten duds that could have benefited from an editor's strikethroughs and a well drawn central character (sharing strong biographical similarities with the author) surrounded by weaker secondary characters - perhaps the ingredients of a talented writer's debut novel, then.

Wallace is nearing completion of graduate school in biochemistry but is unhappy, seemingly resigned to feelings of alienation and otherness. Over a weekend in the present day, with bits of his past parceled out as the story moves along, his reasons become clear. Black, poor, and gay, Wallace had left rural Alabama for grad school in the Midwest with high hopes for the new life opening up before him, which many a student can relate to (I think of Marianne in Rooney's Normal People, on the verge of leaving her small oppressive town for university in the capital, feeling that life will now finally begin).

The reality was disillusioning. The only black student in his program, Wallace experiences the bigotry of low expectations from his program head, his fellow students, even his (mostly) well-meaning group of friends. Naturally introverted, he withdrew into himself, but he is now shaken up on the one hand by an unexpected and explosive romantic relationship with one fellow student, and on the other by a long running animosity directed his way from another student blowing up and calling his desire to remain in grad school into question. Thrown off balance, he is forced to consider what he actually wants, and how his personal history affects how he interacts with others. No final answer is forthcoming in these pages - it is about the dawning of this awareness.

Taylor writes searingly of the near constant background radiation of racist attitudes in which Wallace has to swim alone. Moments that are skipped over or given a mere awkward brief notice by his white friends are unforgettable dispiriting hurts to Wallace, and they accumulate.
Emma puts her head on Wallace's shoulder, but she won't say anything either, can't bring herself to. No one does. No one ever does. Silence is their way of getting by, because if they are silent long enough, then this moment of minor discomfort will pass for them, will fold down into the landscape of the evening as if it never happened. Only Wallace will remember it. That's the frustrating part. Wallace is the only one for whom this is a humiliation.

Taylor also writes convincingly of why people seem existentially driven to pair up, to join their life with another's:
This is perhaps why people get together in the first place. The sharing of time. The sharing of the responsibility of anchoring oneself in the world. Life is less terrible when you can just rest for a moment, put everything down and wait without having to worry about being washed away. People take each other's hands and they hold on as tight as they can, they hold on to each other and to themselves, and when they let go, they can because they know that the other person will not.

These gems fight for attention in the novel with other overdrawn scenes, like a game of tennis in which we learn far too much about Wallace's strengths and weaknesses on the tennis court, and with distractingly over-detailed writing, such as - and this is just pulled from near the end of the book because I just read it and it's the most recent example in my mind - "Wallace fries the fish quickly, turning each piece just as it begins to brown so that it is crispy but not dry or burned." I mean, just say "Wallace fries the fish quickly" and end it!

In sum, a timely novel with some real strong points that Taylor will likely surpass with later novels.
… (mais)
lelandleslie | 33 outras críticas | Feb 24, 2024 |
Stopped reading about one-third of the way through. Strong first chapter, then tedium and tedious characters. Might have gotten better, but I had had enough.
Kalapana | 3 outras críticas | Jan 22, 2024 |
I liked this a lot. Taylor takes a cast of characters, most but not all MFA students in the arts and writing programs, most but not all young queer guys, most—no, I'm gonna go out on a limb and say all—in the process of figuring out who they are and what they want. Which sounds like it could be the insipid framework of any number of that kind of story, but it's not at all. Taylor's a lovely writer, observant of people and their circumstances, and of the human spirit, and he really cares about his characters—which makes the reader (this reader, anyway) feel generous toward them too, even when they're difficult. It's not a plotty book, and some of the characters show up and then just drift out of the frame. But that's life, which is what this very warm book is about, and I'm good with that.… (mais)
1 vote
lisapeet | 3 outras críticas | Jan 11, 2024 |
Well written but violent and sad. Mostly sad. Unhappy people being unhappy. Even when the words were saying they were happy or at ease they were not happy and very ill at ease. Strange tale.
BookyMaven | 33 outras críticas | Dec 6, 2023 |



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