cover image Shoplifting from American Apparel

Shoplifting from American Apparel

Tao Lin, . . Melville, $13 (103pp) ISBN 978-1-933633-78-7

The Internet has spawned a generation exceedingly more awkward, apathetic and lost than any that has come before—at least, this seems to be the message and intention of Lin's underwhelming novella (after Eeeee Eee Eeee and Bed ). Sam, a young writer with “good rankings on Amazon,” works at an organic vegan restaurant and spends much of his time checking e-mails and instant messaging with his equally detached friends while wandering downtown Manhattan and Brooklyn. There is, indeed, the shoplifting of a T-shirt (and, later, earphones), the acts—both of which end in Sam's arrest—motivated by a need for “variety.” Though Lin strives to paint a portrait of a generation of disaffected youth “caught in the soft blue light of Internet Explorer,” this offers little more than lackadaisical pop culture reportage that reads mostly like a diary rendered in third person. (Sept.)