Justin Taylor’s first short-story collection artfully captures the view of the 2000s from the perspective of a twentysomething. I’ll be surprised if we don’t find two standout pieces from this collection in prize-winning anthologies of 2010 short stories.
“In My Heart I Am Already Gone” reads like a suburban Barry Hannah (the title even suggests Hannah, to those who know his work). “Jewels Flashing in the Night of Time” pulls off the improbable literary act of conflating a young couple’s experiments in S&M with the fun and games at Abu Ghraib. A disturbing work, it sticks in your head like a black thorn.
Taylor lives in Brooklyn, teaches at Rutgers. He’s written for The Believer and Paste, and anthologized a collection of end-of-the-world stories (The Apocalypse Reader). Several of his stories bear the unmistakable, bloggy influence of the 2000s. Do we sense some sort of new fictional frontier? Time will tell.