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Everything Here Is the Best Thing Ever: Stories Paperback – February 9, 2010


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 185 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial (February 9, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061881813
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061881817
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,561,050 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Taylor's superb debut short story collection is explorative and fresh with well-crafted empathic characters. In A House in Our Arms, a young hedge fund assistant reconnects with his first love, Leah, in New York yet is drawn to Richard, an older man. Whistle Through Your Teeth and Spit has proud regulars of a Lower East Side coffee house commenting on and criticizing the new bourgeois clientele as they watch the neighborhood change around them. In My Heart I Am Already Gone, gives narrator Kyle the unpleasant job of putting down his uncle's cat, Buckles, all the while feeling terror that he will never escape his hometown or his on again/off again girlfriend. Each story is spare and clean and speaks the truth in beautiful resonant prose. (Feb.)
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From Booklist

Over half the stories in this collection were published in Internet literary magazines or in an anthology edited by Dennis Cooper. Short story lovers will enjoy Taylor’s talent for flash fiction as well as his adept touch with the longer lengths that give him scope for a weird, ironic sense of humor and profound taste for the bizarre—one reads, laughs, and shudders simultaneously. Taylor examines relationships through the prism of tactile memory while using voice and point of view to create both ambiguity and suspense. The stylistically complex Jewels Flashing in the Night of Time successfully conflates a painfully unrequited love, visions of torture at Abu Ghraib, and the narrator’s job as the meat slicer in a busy deli. In the flash fiction Tetris, a couple’s fight over the video game turns apocalyptic. And Uncle Danny pays his nephew $25 to kill the family cat in In My Heart I Am Already Gone. These stories of Gen Y, told with panache, dark humor, and technical flash, will delight short-fiction fans of all ages. --Ellen Loughran

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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Crazy88Line Cook on June 24, 2010
Format: Paperback
Justin Taylor's stories in this collection have a half-baked quality to them that left me cold. There is not a lot for the reader to connect with here. Settings are sparse and interactions are mostly unsatisfying and nobody really stands out enough to motivate page turning until the one nod to Barthelme;
"Finding myself". Barely two pages long it is hinted at on the cover of the paperback edition with a blurb from Padgett Powell. Perhaps the blurb is a debt paid to some connection of Powell's in the publishing industry?
Do we really need more stories about people smoking pot,directionless teens during boring summer vacations and dysfunction in the male dynamic of suburban Jewish families? If so they need to have more impact and insight to be worth the cover price.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By April VINE VOICE on March 3, 2010
Format: Paperback
Everything Here Is The Best Thing Ever by Justin Taylor, besides being a book with an incredibly long title, is a collection of short stories, basically about hipsters being unemployed doing unglamourous things. The book is small, topping off at 185 pages. The stories are gritty. Some I related with and some I did not.

Stylistically, Taylor is excellent. The words just seem to flow off the page. This book reminded me a bit of Chuck Palahniuk's writing. The people within are inherently flawed, I don't really care much for the characters, but I still want to know what happens because the words weave a spell.

My favorite story within Everything Here is The Best Thing Ever was Jewels Flashing in the Night of Time which basically involves this guy playing Tetris during the apocalypse. Tetris plus world-ending gets a giant thumbs up from me.

Aside from that, not much for me to say, as this was such a slim book without an overarching plot, or main characters. Just short stories, and if that's what you like, then I say, pick this book up.

"It was so thorough, almost as if he were trying to say that if he could no longer work in an office then by God he would keep such a spotless and ordered home that the family would come to see how his lost job had been a good fortune in disguise." - pg. 47
Story of my life. I currently work one day per week as I'm waiting to hear back about being approved to sub, and my current job doesn't have the budget to give me more hours. Therefore, I clean and read all day. Seriously.

"She is a magic trick and I am either the magician or the crowd" - pg. 155
Sparse, beautiful, me likey.
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Format: Paperback
This is the best collection of short stories I have ever read. The subject matter was either great or completely uninteresting to me, depending on the story, but regardless of the subject, the prose itself was simply spectacular. I found every sentence to be so well written that it just jumped off the page. If you enjoy writing, you'll appreciate what this author has done here. I'm hoping this isn't the last we see of him. I read his other book as well, and the prose was the same quality, but the second half of the book weakened a bit, in my opinion...I don't want to be too harsh, though, I haven't written a novel myself, so...I say read it for yourself and then decide! : )
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm becoming more and more a fan of short story collections than ever before. It's funny--what I used to find most problematic about short stories, the fact that I would get invested in characters only to have to give them up within a few pages, I'm starting to enjoy more and more. A good short story collection really gives you insight into many memorable characters and situations, and while there are certain stories you wish to be longer, the collection is often like a buffet--sometimes there will be things you really like and other times you hope the stories will pass quickly.

Everything Here is the Best Thing Ever definitely upheld the buffet notion for me. Justin Taylor is a young writer with tremendous, tremendous promise. There are some absolutely fantastic stories in this collection, which features mostly twenty-somethings as main characters. As you might imagine, some of the stories touch on disillusionment, dysfunction and a general lack of motivation, but many of these stories are beautifully written. Some of my favorites include Tennessee, a story of family dysfunction and the need for belonging; The New Life, in which a teenager turns to the supernatural to try and keep his crush from slipping away; What Was Once All Yours, which combines religion and typical high school behavior with fantastic results; and In My Heart I Am Already Gone, in which a fairly rudderless guy is offered money from his uncle to kill their sick cat. I like that Taylor isn't afraid to draw his characters as complex, flawed individuals. Not all of Taylor's stories work; I am not a fan of really experimental fiction and a few of the stories follow that vein, but many stories are very brief, so it isn't too much of a challenge to muddle through.

If you enjoy short stories, I'd definitely recommend this collection. And I look forward to seeing what Justin Taylor accomplishes as his career progresses!
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jeff Talbott on September 17, 2010
Format: Paperback
This collection of shorts from an incredibly talented twenty-seven year old shows so much promise that it almost carries you over the spots where you can't help but notice yourself reading a twenty-seven year old's first collection of shorts. Writing with a spare, slective pen, Justin Taylor could turn out to be a major voice - even in the most lackadaisical of the stories here he can turn out a lean, unexpected sentence that just takes your breath away. He captures the disaffected voice of young people on the brink of no longer being young unlike anybody I've read in the last couple years. If that voice isn't always in service of the most propulsive narrative, it hardly seems the point. This guy is someone to watch.
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