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The Blue Light Project: A Novel Paperback – April 12, 2011
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Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
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"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 novela 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.'"
"[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 alland here is where the writer he most recalls is Don DeLilloTaylor finds surprising angles into his material . . . In the end, for all horror on display, hope is what The Blue Light Project holds out."
"Beautifully written and brimming with important ideas . . . His themes are absolutely of the moment, and his characters are consistently fascinating."
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.
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Top Customer Reviews
"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. The ending is uplifting, and truly manages to capture the sentiment of Herzog's quote on a grand scale.
This book take a little time to get into, but is a very rewarding read. A truly original and clever concept. It's nothing if not thought-provoking, and is sure to inspire the artist in all of us.
What I enjoy most about Mr. Taylor's writing is the way that he infuses his story with politics. Stanley Park was about a struggling chef and his estranged father, a researcher in the fields of sociology and homelessness. I've forgotten a fair bit of the story, but what I do remember is that Stanley Park addressed the idea of what happens when some people lose their sense of community and no longer fit into a larger "proper" society. How easy it is to forget about the homeless, the poor, & the weak.
Mr. Taylor has done something similar in The Blue Light Project. Taylor seems concerned with how society fractures and breaks from within. In Stanley Park it was various homeless figures who break from the larger world and isolate themselves. In The Blue Light Project this break comes as a result of a rather extreme and violent turn of events. A lone madman takes control over a television studio. Children from an American-Idol style variety show are captured and held hostage. Mr. Taylor looks at how celebrity culture, violence, and art are intertwined.
It is difficult to discuss this particular book without spoiling certain plot points. The story takes place over the course of four days from three different points of view. At the heart of this story is celebrity culture. What does it mean to be famous-at what cost. Eve Latour is a former Olympian who is struggling to make sense of her brother's mysterious disappearance. As she searches for him in the poorer parts of the city she stumbles upon the second point of view we are offered: Rabbit. Rabbit is a street artist who practices parkour. Rabbit is searching for some large gesture, a way to comment/protest the capitalist system that he left behind. And then there is Thom Pegg, a failed journalist turned celeb/paparazzi hack. Pegg is the only person who is allowed to meet the mysterious captor who has taken hostage of the children. All of these characters are confronting issues that surround celebrity, publicity, and society.
If you're looking for an interesting commentary on the media and art, you will find yourself enjoying this particular work. I cannot help but reflect on how prescient this book is in relation to the recent death of Osama Bin Laden. Those flash-bulb memory/cultural events. The death of JFK, Challenger, 9/11, Columbine, etc. The assassination of OBL is now added to that list. Do you recall where you were when you found out? Did you watch the news incessantly, craving for more detail, for more gore. Do you want to see photos? Did you seek out the fake ones? What does it mean that he is now dead. These same types of issues are addressed in Timothy Taylor's novel. Taylor turns the lens unto ourselves and examines how we interact and react to these larger cultural events. What do we ultimately seek when we turn on the news? Do we want to see someone rise or someone fall? The characters in this novel struggle to make sense of this horrific event. As each of them searches for their own sense of celebrity: Rabbit who is still trying to define himself with one artistic gesture, Eve who is living in the afterglow of Olympic glory, and Thom Pegg who has fallen so far from where he once was: esteemed journalist - paparazzi hack.