Shoplifting From American Apparel

Shoplifting From American Apparel

Paperback - 2009
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Set mostly in Manhattan, Lin's highly anticipated debut autobiographical novella, spanning two years in the life of a young, hip writer with a cult following, is destined to become a classic text. The narrative darts across many locations, inspired by a rich host of cultural and literary icons such as Bret Easton Ellis, Moby and Ghost Mice. With dexterity and a cutting-edge cultural fluency, Lin explores themes of class, culture and art through the funny and existential narrative of his protagonist.
Published: Brooklyn, N.Y. : Melville House, c2009.
ISBN: 9781933633787
Branch Call Number: F LIN
Characteristics: 103 p. ;,18 cm.


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Apr 26, 2016

I'm not entirely sure how to review this interesting, unusual work of seemingly semi-autobiographical fiction. The work follows the mundane everyday life of Sam, an unfocused vegan writer who bums about New York City (and occasionally elsewhere) shoplifting, drinking Synergy brand kombucha, chatting with friends on Gmail, and indulging in painfully self-conscious irony (he jokes about buying a "Spicy Chicken Sandwich from Wendy's," and then not eating it). I have to say, "Shoplifting from American Apparel is one of the most concentrated slices of the life of my generation that I've yet seen put to paper. Lin's distinct style, as short and terse as a Twitter update yet also redolent of modern 20-something culture, deals with banal hipster tropes via a backdrop of almost overdone literacy. An interesting and heady mix that are equal parts vapid and brilliant. A quick and breezy read, I definitely enjoyed "Shoplifting from American Apparel," while it lasted. The novella is definitely a neglected form of literature, and one that Lin owned in this work- any longer, however, and its idiosyncrasies may have caught up with it, causing the work to become nearly unbearably self-referential. In any case, I am definitely interested in reading more of Tao Lin's work to see if I can form a more coherent idea his style.

Feb 28, 2013

don't waste your time on this one, folks. Nothing happens, just a guy speaks to various acquaintances and gets caught twice shoplifting...and repeatedly gives people a "neutral facial expression", whatever that is. There is NO PLOT whatsoever.

stewaroby Apr 19, 2011

Who could resist this title? Not me, although the book does not have much connection with that very strange retail empire other than the obvious. I love a novella, the satisfaction of completing a book with not too much time outlaid.


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