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The Blue Light Project: A Novel Paperback – April 12, 2011


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Soft Skull Press (April 12, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1593764022
  • ISBN-13: 978-1593764029
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,420,192 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Praise for The Blue Light Project

"Taylor has a wild and vast imagination, and his work bursts with originality." —Publishers Weekly

"Taylor has written a thriller that challenges our perceptions as both individuals and as a species." —Library Journal

"Delightfully engrossing . . . Holding The Blue Light Project together is Taylor's prose style, which jumps across the page like a joyful, risk-loving parkour artist."
Winnipeg Free Press

"An ambitious novel, one that challenges its readers to pay attention or get left behind, but it is definitely worth the necessary concentration . . . It is about the power of art to heal in the aftermath of tragedy. And from a literary standpoint, it works extremely well. The Blue Light Project's closing image will stay with readers for a long time after they close the book . . . A wonderful novel—a thought-provoking and challenging story that will lead to debate and discussion among readers and might even change the way you look at our celebrity-driven culture."
The Vancouver Sun

"Taylor is an intelligent writer, and one whose novels suggest that he has strong political convictions. Some of the best and most unsettling moments come when the grim ironies of the plot illustrate how governments… are quietly dismantling long-taken-for-granted rights and privileges and replacing them with libertarian pseudo-freedoms . . . Taylor will one day be a Canadian icon."
—J.C. Sutcliffe, The Globe and Mail

"A breakneck literary thriller that combines the worlds of conspiracy theory, reality TV, celebrity culture and street art."
—Mark Medley, National Post

"It's tempting to race through The Blue Light Project. It has the compelling narrative momentum and intricate plotting of a thriller. Resist the temptation, because… [it's] as much a novel of ideas as it is a page-turner. It's a crucible of topical issues… By turns hopeful and alarming, The Blue Light Project is a thought-provoking take on what one character calls 'our toxic times.'"
Toronto Star

"[Taylor] skilfully juggl[es] the intimate with the public, the small-scale with the monumental . . . He ramps up the suspense as effectively as any more conventional thriller writer could… Best of all—and here is where the writer he most recalls is Don DeLillo—Taylor finds surprising angles into his material . . . In the end, for all horror on display, hope is what The Blue Light Project holds out."
The Gazette

"Beautifully written and brimming with important ideas . . . His themes are absolutely of the moment, and his characters are consistently fascinating."
NOW (Toronto)


Praise for Timothy Taylor

“One of the most graceful young stylists around . . . unflaggingly intelligent.” —Maclean’s

“Taylor is a writer of undeniable talent who has proven himself adept at both the long and short form, and whose wave will no doubt reach the shores.” —Toronto Star

“There’s no question that Taylor is a fine writer who offers much to look forward to.” —National Post

About the Author

Now recognized by both reviewers and readers as one of Canada’s prose masters, Timothy Taylor took a somewhat unexpected route in establishing his writing career. After completing an economics degree at the University of Alberta and an MBA at the Queen’s School of Business, Taylor worked for four years in commercial banking, during which time he arranged to transfer from Toronto to his childhood home of Vancouver, where he still lives. However, Taylor had long known that he wanted to write, so he made the decision to leave his job and try to make a go of it, establishing his own Pacific fisheries consulting practice in order to give his new freelance writing career some stability.

As Taylor mentioned in one interview, it was all part of the slow process of developing himself as an author: “It’s difficult to have serious writing ambitions and run your own business at the same time. Both pursuits deserve your full attention, but writing won’t return a living wage at the beginning, so there are some hard realities.” Yet Taylor also feels that his writing has benefited immensely from his work in other areas: “I needed exposure to people in different fields with problems and issues and objectives outside the world of writing. If I had tried to start a novel in my mid-twenties after studying creative writing, I can’t imagine what I would have written about. I admire people who succeed this way and, recently, I’ve met quite a few.”

During this time, Taylor began writing his first novel, Stanley Park, and also worked on his short fiction, which began to be accepted by literary magazines. This turned out to be a valuable step for Taylor, as he began to feel a part of the literary community. As he said in one interview, “For me, literary magazines were really important to how I ended up making contact with anybody whatsoever. Because, I think, for beginning writers the only dialogue you have going on about your writing – where anybody will actually talk to you – is the letter exchange you have with lit mags…. And that conversation – you writing and submitting, and them writing you back this letter – represents this small dialogue, and it’s the only one you’re having.” The time spent perfecting his short stories came to fruition when Taylor’s “Doves of Townsend” was awarded the Journey Prize (Canada’s equivalent to the O. Henry Award) in 2000. Remarkably, he had two other stories on the competition’s final shortlist that year, and was the first Canadian writer ever to have three short stories up for the prize and included in the Journey Prize Anthology.

The following year, Stanley Park was published as part of Knopf Canada’s New Face of Fiction program, to outstanding reviews. (It was at this point that Taylor was finally able to wrap up his consultancy business and write full time.) The novel follows a food artiste named Jeremy Papier into the inner sanctums of Vancouver’s culinary scene, and Jeremy’s father, an anthropologist who camps out in Stanley Park to study homelessness, into the city’s underbelly. Stanley Park was shortlisted for the Giller Prize, the City of Vancouver Book Award, the Ethel Wilson Award and the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize.

That novel was followed by Silent Cruise, a collection of short fiction, in 2002, and Story House, a novel, in 2006. Both books received broad critical acclaim. The Blue Light Project followed in 2011, and has been lauded for not only its thriller-like intensity but the important questions it raises about how we live in our world, and what our future might hold. Taylor has also been widely published and recognized for his non-fiction magazine work, and has been a finalist for or winner of a dozen separate magazine awards. Today, Timothy Taylor continues to publish stories in Canada’s leading literary magazines, in addition to writing travel, humour, arts and business pieces for various periodicals, and writing for film.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

It does come together at some point, but not all of my questions were resolved.
thewanderingjew
It's a slow-paced story that gradually builds to its climax, taking the reader on the spiritual journey of the three main characters.
Jen Congiliando
It is difficult to discuss this particular book without spoiling certain plot points.
sonicbooming

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jen Congiliando on May 9, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have a tremendous nerd crush on Werner Herzog. For anyone who may not be familiar with him, he's an award-winning German filmmaker who has been making films for over 40 years. Seriously, Netflix his movies. They're amazing. Not only does he make interesting movies, but he has fascinating insights on life and the world around us. For example:

"If you switch on television it's just ridiculous and it's destructive. It kills us. And talk shows will kill us. They kill our language. So we have to declare holy war against what we see every single day on television. We need adequate images, or we'll go the way of the dinosaurs."

The Blue Light Project is a novel inspired by this Herzog quote. It's a unique story about people who overcome their personal struggles, and of the power of human creativity and expression. It's a slow-paced story that gradually builds to its climax, taking the reader on the spiritual journey of the three main characters. Eve is a former Olympic athlete, searching almost obsessively for her missing brother. Rabbit is an idealistic street artist, working on his "big project," who left a lucrative job after experiencing a moral crisis. And Thom is a once-respected journalist, reduced to interviewing celebrities after a scandal cost him his nomination for a Pulitzer prize. Their three paths are united after an unknown assailant storms a television studio during a taping of a talent program and takes the contestants hostage.

It's a slow-starting story with a touch of satire, seemingly nebulous and abstract, that gradually comes into focus as the details are unveiled one at a time. Taylor's writing style contains little dialog but beautifully flowing descriptive prose.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By STG on March 22, 2011
Format: Paperback
Terrific thought provoking book with multiple themes which came together in a surprising and uplifting conclusion. While the personal lives of the three main characters are rich and engrossing stories all by themselves (Eve, a former Olympian; Rabbit, a street artist who navigates the city as though it were his personal playground - in one scene he daringly and invisibly leaves the site of one of his artistic installations via an elevator shaft; and Thom Pegg, a disgraced former investigative journalist), this author expertly weaves these three strands together against the backdrop of a city which is caught up by a calamitous hostage taking. I'm not a reader of `thrillers,' however this book provides the superb pleasure of fascinating characters, rich story lines, exquisite writing and a tension which cannot help but grip the reader right until the books concluding paragraphs.

And the novel addresses relevant and big ideas. Its compelling portrayal of modern culture with its focus on fame and self-branding is juxtaposed against the street artist who, without desire for acknowledgment, stops passersby in their tracks with unexpected colors and ideas which appear overnight across the cityscape. The tension in the latter half of the book made this book a page turner, and the themes have been alive in my mind well beyond reading the final page.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By YoyoMitch on May 10, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
Being a committed reader, from my point of view, requires that once a book is begun it must be completed. With few exceptions, this has proven to be a rewarding discipline. Shortly after I began reading this book, I had to remind myself of my commitment. The book begins slowly and gains little speed to an end that is violent, confusing and uncertain.
When an individual interrupts a popular reality show, Kiddiefame, and takes hostage over 100 of the participants and audience members, a crisis begins. When it is discovered this person has a bomb, the city reacts to this event (terrorism, kidnapping, media circus?) by becoming polarized along political lines and tension rises the longer the crisis lasts. In the midst of this moment, Eve Latour, Olympic gold medalist and city hero is looking for her brother, Ali, who has been missing for seven years; Rabbit, a street artist with a past that is intriguing; Thom Pegg, an alcoholic journalist whose Pulitzer Prize was revoked after it was discovered that the winning news story had, at its center, a fictional character, are all intimately involved in this ongoing crisis. At the onset, their involvement appears random but their worlds begin to collide as the bombers reasons for action become clear.
The story never "found its legs" for me. As I read, I enjoyed learning of the three main characters, but the plot was too manufactured, overly violent and splintered to hold the level of attention merited by the well-developed central characters. The title speaks of Rabbit's design that will bring together what the bomber has sought to break apart. When it is unveiled, it "succeeds" only by contrivance and left me feeling as if I had been short-changed.
Obviously, this book is not one I can highly recommend.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Dianne C on July 9, 2011
Format: Paperback
This is a smart book and an interesting book as it delves into uncommon topics such as feats of daring (called Parkour by some) and illegal street art (otherwise known as graffiti) mixed in with a plot involving terrorism.

It was obvious that the characters in the book would all wind up crossing paths and for the most part I liked the way the characters dovetailed. My one exception was Evey and Ali, but can't go into details without being a spoiler; the encounter didn't ring true to me. It was necessary for the resolution of the plot, but seemed artificial. This is probably the main reason I gave the book a 4 instead of a 5.

Frankly, this is not a book I would have picked out for myself as it's not the type of thing I usually read. However, the book was gifted to me so I read it and was pleasantly surprised by the philosophical vein. It's much more than a potboiler.
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