Taipei (novel)

Taipei is a 2013 novel by Tao Lin. It is his third novel.

Taipei (novel).jpg
First edition cover
AuthorTao Lin
Cover artistCardon Webb (design)
CountryUnited States
SeriesVintage Contemporaries
GenreFiction, novel
PublishedJune 4, 2013, Vintage Books
ISBN978-0-307-95017-8 (US),
978-1-78211-185-6 (UK)
Preceded byRichard Yates 


On August 15, 2011, The New York Observer reported that Lin had sold his third novel, then titled Taipei, Taiwan, to Vintage.[1] Lin's agent, Bill Clegg, brokered the deal with editor Tim O'Connell based on "a 5000-word excerpt and a ~3-page outline", for "$50,000 with a $10,000 bonus if it earns out its advance."[citation needed] Lin reportedly[This quote needs a citation] chose Vintage after meeting with four other editors, including those at Little, Brown and Harper Perennial. Earlier that morning the Wall Street Journal broke the news and briefly interviewed Lin on his decision. Lin said, "Vintage/Knopf publishes most of my favorite writers: Lorrie Moore, Ann Beattie, Bret Easton Ellis."[2]


On February 1, 2013, Entertainment Weekly debuted the cover.[3] The article also included an interview with Lin, who said, of the autobiographical nature of the book:

Writing autobiographically is more difficult because I'm editing a massive first draft of maybe 25,000 pages—my memory—into a 250-page novel. It's less difficult because I don't need to write a 25,000-page first draft; it's already there, in some form, as my memory. Related: I don't view my memory as accurate or static—and, in autobiographical fiction, my focus is still on creating an effect, not on documenting reality—so "autobiographical", to me, is closer in meaning to "fiction" than "autobiography."

The article did not comment on the cover, except to say that it was "shiny." Thought Catalog, in an article titled "The Cover For Tao Lin's New Novel Looks Sweet," wondered how it would appear: "The version online is a shiny gif. It will be interesting to see what the cover looks like on a physical copy."[4]


The description on the back of the advance galleys, distributed in early January and notably including prescription pill bottles containing candy,[5] stated:

Taipei by Tao Lin is an ode--or lament--to the way we live now. Following Paul from New York, where he comically navigates Manhattan's art and literary scenes, to Taipei, Taiwan, where he confronts his family's roots, we see one relationship fail, while another is born on the internet and blooms into an unexpected wedding in Las Vegas. Along the way—whether on all night drives up the East Coast, shoplifting excursions in the South, book readings on the West Coast, or ill advised grocery runs in Ohio—movies are made with laptop cameras, massive amounts of drugs are ingested, and two young lovers come to learn what it means to share themselves completely. The result is a suspenseful meditation on memory, love, and what it means to be alive, young, and on the fringe in America, or anywhere else for that matter.

Early ResponseEdit

On February 25 Publishers Weekly, in a starred review,[6] predicted Taipei would be Lin's "breakout" book, calling it "a novel about disaffection that's oddly affecting" and noting that "for all its emotional reality, Taipei is a book without an ounce of self-pity, melodrama, or posturing."

Bret Easton Ellis tweeted praise for the novel soon after its release.[7] Frederick Barthelme also voiced praise for the novel:[This quote needs a citation]

Tao Lin has made a distinctive career out of sticking to his guns, his guns being the ultra-high-res self-consciousness that characterizes our lives but which we routinely ignore in our lives and in our art. In Taipei he is a constant microscope, examining a world of miniature gestures, tiny facial movements, hands in motion, shrugs, nods, twists, ticks, flicks and snaps, a world in which the barrage of information we take in moment by moment is simultaneously cataloged, interpreted, cross-referenced, recorded, and filed.

On March 14 the New York Observer included Taipei in its "Spring Arts Preview: Top Ten Books",[8] calling Lin "an excellent writer of avant-garde fiction" and Taipei "his most mature work [...] Mr. Lin has refined his deadpan prose style here into an icy, cynical, but ultimately thrilling and unique literary voice."


Taipei was published on June 4. Early reviews were positive, including those from New York Observer,[9] Elle,[10] The Globe And Mail,[11] and Slate.[12] Mixed reviews included those from New York Times[13] and National Public Radio,[14] both of whose reviewers seemed to both "love and hate", as Dwight Garner said in his New York Times review, Lin's book.

In The Daily Beast critic Emily Witt reviewed the book very positively:[15]

Taipei is exactly the kind of book I hoped Tao Lin would one day write. He is one of the few fiction writers around who engages with contemporary life, rather than treating his writing online as existing in opposition to or apart from the hallowed analog space of the novel. He's consistently good for a few laughs and writes in a singular style already much imitated by his many sycophants on the Internet. Some people like Tao Lin for solely these reasons, or treat him as a sort of novelty or joke. But Lin can also produce the feelings of existential wonder that all good novelists provoke. His writing reveals the hyperbole in conversational language that we use, it seems, to make up for living lives where equanimity and well-adjustment are the most valued attributes, where human emotions are pathologized into illness: we do not fall in love, we become "obsessed"; we do not dislike, we "hate". We manipulate ourselves chemically to avoid acting "crazy."

Clancy Martin, reviewing for New York Times Book Review,[16] said:

Here we have a serious, first-rate novelist putting all his skills to work. Taipei is a love story, and although it's Lin's third novel it's also, in a sense, a classic first novel: it's semi-autobiographical (Lin has described it as the distillation of 25,000 pages of memory) and it's a bildungsroman, a coming-of-age story about a young man who learns, through love, that life is larger than he thought it was.

Taipei was listed as a best or favorite book of 2013 by Times Literary Supplement, Evening Standard Slate, Vice, Complex, Village Voice, Bookforum, Buzzfeed, The Week, Salon, Maisonneuve, other venues.

Foreign editionsEdit

A Spanish edition from Alpha Decay[17] and a French edition from Au Diable Vauvert will be published in January 2014.[needs update] The French edition[18] uses a variation of the English cover. A Romanian edition was published in 2019.[19] Also forthcoming are Dutch,[20] German, and Italian editions.

Film adaptationEdit

A film adaptation written and directed by Jason Lester and starring Ellie Bamber, Justin Chon, Hannah Marks, Miles Robbins, and Kathrine Reis was released under the title ″High Resolution″ in October 2018 through Showtime.[21]


  1. ^ "Tao Lin Announces Five-Figure Sale of Taipei, Taiwan to Vintage; Tim O'Connell, 'Prolific Tweeter,' to Edit". Retrieved August 15, 2011.
  2. ^ Vilensky, Mike (2011-08-15). "Tao Lin's Next Chapter". Dow Jones & Company. Retrieved 2014-05-13.
  3. ^ Lee, Stephan (2013-02-01). "Tao Lin talks his upcoming novel 'Taipei'. Also, see the cover. It's shiny, and it moves -- EXCLUSIVE". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2014-05-13.
  4. ^ "The Cover For Tao Lin's New Novel Looks Sweet - Thought Catalog". Thought Catalog.
  5. ^ "January Magazine: Book Publicity 101".
  6. ^ "Fiction Book Review: Taipei by Tao Lin".
  7. ^ @BretEastonEllis (4 March 2013). "With "Taipei" Tao Lin becomes the most interesting prose stylist of his generation, which doesn't mean that "Taipei" isn't a boring novel..." (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  8. ^ The Editors. "Spring Arts Preview: Top Ten Books". Observer.
  9. ^ "Gchat Is a Noble Pursuit: Tao Lin's Modernist Masterpiece". Observer.
  10. ^ shea, Lisa (2013-06-04). "Book Review: 'Taipei'". Hachette Filipacchi Médias. Retrieved 2014-05-13.
  11. ^ "Tao Lin's new novel makes art from the products that define our daily lives". The Globe and Mail.
  12. ^ "Tao Lin's Taipei reviewed: techy, drug-fueled, existential fiction". Slate Magazine.
  13. ^ Garner, Dwight (4 June 2013). "A Literary Mind, Under the Spell of Drugs and a MacBook" – via
  14. ^ "Book Review: 'Taipei' By Tao Lin : NPR". 11 June 2013.
  15. ^ "The Gpistolary Novel: Tao Lin's "Taipei"". The Daily Beast.
  16. ^ Martin, Clancy (28 June 2013). "The Agony of Ecstasy" – via
  17. ^ "Timeline Photos - Editorial Alpha Decay - Facebook".
  18. ^ "Au diable vauvert on Twitter". Twitter.
  19. ^ "Taipei - Paralela 45". Paralela 45.
  20. ^ "Taipei - Podium". Podium.
  21. ^ Missing or empty |title= (help)

External linksEdit