by Zoe Pollock
Daniel Roberts profiles New York author Tao Lin and heralds him as the as the next big thing in net-savvy hipster lit. For those unfamiliar with Lin, here's the opening lines from Lin's Shoplifting From American Apparel:
Sam woke around 3:30 p.m. and saw no emails from Sheila. He made a
smoothie. He lay on his bed and stared at his computer screen … About
an hour later it was dark outside. Sam ate cereal with soymilk. He put
things on eBay then tried to guess the password to Sheila's email
account, not thinking he would be successful, and not being successful.
Where Lin is coming from, and what his readers share, is a sense of
loneliness. The malaise is not specific to New York, of course, but it
is typical of a certain ilk of detached 20-somethings across the
The loneliness could be attributed to the Internet. Lin and his
literary peers spend hours and hours online, and although doing so
fosters a sense of connectedness, it is equally isolating. No matter how
many fans or fellow writers Lin "meets" online, at the end of the day
it's still him, sitting at his laptop alone.