Leave Society

Tao Lin. Vintage, $16 trade paper (368p) ISBN 978-1-101-97447-6
Lin (Trip) continues his interest in real-life mystic Terence McKenna with the underwhelming story of a Lin-like New York City novelist facing a crossroads as he travels back and forth between New York City and Taipei. Shortly after Li’s arrival in Taipei to visit his parents, he reconsiders having surgery on his concave chest, which he’d declined in the past, and becomes increasingly inspired by McKenna’s views on psychedelics. “The world seemed more complex, terrible, hopeful, meaningful, and magical than he’d previously thought or heard,” Lin writes of Li’s reaction to McKenna’s work. Back in Manhattan, Li battles intense back pain, writers block, dwindling finances, and loneliness. When in Taipei, he hopes to improve his health and cultivate artistic inspiration (“living with his parents felt slightly surreal in a way that was satisfying for both his life and his novel”). After a friend moves into his Manhattan building, a surprisingly tender romance blossoms between them. Much of the action and descriptions are banal, and aside from the romance, this feels a bit too detached and devoid of emotion for a book ostensibly about learning to live. Lin’s fans might appreciate this, but it doesn’t offer anything new. (Aug.)
Reviewed on : 06/04/2021
Release date: 08/03/2021
Genre: Fiction
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