Richard Yates

A Novel

208 Pages

Published September 2010

Richard Yates
Ebooks Sale Off

About the Book

In a startling change of direction, cult favorite Tao Lin presents a dark and brooding tale of illicit love that is his most sophisticated and mesmerizing writing yet.

Richard Yates is named after real-life writer Richard Yates, but it has nothing to do with him. Instead, it tracks the rise and fall of an illicit affair between a very young writer and his even younger--in fact, under-aged--lover. As he seeks to balance work and love, she becomes more and more self-destructive in a play for his undivided attention. His guilt and anger builds in response until they find themselves hurtling out of control and afraid to let go.

Lin's trademark minimalism takes on a new, sharp-edged suspense here, zeroing in on a lacerating narrative like never before--until it is almost, in fact, too late.


“Richard Yates is hilarious, menacing, and hugely intelligent. Tao Lin is a Kafka for the iPhone generation. He has that most important gift: it’s impossible to imagine anyone else writing like he does and sounding authentic. Yet he has already spawned a huge school of Lin imitators. As precocious and prolific as he is, every book surpasses the last. Tao Lin may well be the most important writer under thirty working today.”
—Clancy Martin, author of How to Sell

“Richard Yates is a moving, very funny, discomforting, and heartbreakingly life-affirming meditation on extremes—extreme alienation, extreme intimacy, extreme confusion, extreme expectations—that reads like a meticulously and lovingly crafted collaboration between a weirder Ernest Hemingway and a more philosophically-minded Jean Rhys.”
—James Frey

“It would be easy to say that Richard Yates is Tao Lin’s best book yet. Others have said it. Plainly, however, it’s not–Richard Yates only proves that Tao’s work, as it should, undoes any pretensions to ‘best’ or ‘worst.’”

Praise for Tao Lin’s Previous Work

“Trancelike and often hilarious […] Lin’s writing is reminiscent of early Douglas Coupland, or early Bret Easton Ellis, but there is also something going on here that is more profoundly peculiar, even Beckettian […] The text is conscientiously scoured of narrative ‘purpose’, ‘characterisation’, and anything else that would smack of novelistic bullshit. What is left is an attitude, a mood, a comically despairing abandoning of literary ego.”
The Guardian

“A deadpan literary trickster.”
New York Times

“A revolutionary.”
The Stranger

“Deeply smart, funny, and head-over-heels dedicated.”
—Sam Anderson, New York Magazine

“Fascinating and articulate in a way that people my age (incl. um, like, you know, myself) rarely are.”
—Emily Gould

“Tao Lin writes from moods that less radical writers would let pass—from laziness, from vacancy, from boredom. And it turns out that his report from these places is moving and necessary, not to mention frequently hilarious.”
—Miranda July

“Tao Lin’s sly, forlorn, deadpan humor jumps off the page…his prose retains the energy of an outlaw […] will delight fans of everyone from Mark Twain to Michelle Tea.”
San Francisco Chronicle

“Stimulating and exciting […] It doesn’t often happen that a debuting writer displays not only irrepressible talent but also the ability to undermine the conventions of fiction and set off in new directions. Tao Lin, who is 24, does it.”
San Francisco Bay Guardian

“[Shoplifting from American Apparel] is scathingly funny for being so spare […] just might be the future of literature.”
Austin Chronicle

“[Shoplifting from American Apparel] is the purest example so far of the minimalist aesthetic as it used to be enunciated.”
—Michael Silverblatt, Bookworm

“[Shoplifting from American Apparel] is somehow both the funniest and the saddest book I’ve read in a long time.”
—Michael Schaub, Bookslut

“Full of melancholy, tension, and hilarity […] Lin is a master of pinpointing the ways in which the Internet and text messages can quell loneliness, while acknowledging that these faceless forms of communication probably created that loneliness to begin with.”
Boston Phoenix

“You don’t think, ‘I like this guy,’ or ‘I really dislike this guy.’ You think, ‘huh.’ […] Camus’ The Stranger or ‘sociopath?’”
Los Angeles Times

“Prodigal, unpredictable…impossible to ignore.”
Paste Magazine

“A master of understatement–or, rather, of statement.”
Vice Magazine

“Very Funny.”
USA Today

“[Eeeee Eee Eeee] is a wonderfully deadpan joke.”
The Independent

Eeeee Eee Eeee is an un-self-conscious yet commanding tour de force.”

“[A] remarkable novel.”
—Steve Mitchelmore, Ready Steady Book

“Tao Lin’s sentences are so good they sometimos make me shudder.”

“Tao Lin’s fiction will kick your ass and say thank you afterwards!”
—Amy Fusselman, author of The Pharmacist’s Mate

“What’s more remarkable than a writer who manages to release two critically acclaimed books at once? One who does it at the age of 23.”
The Boston Globe

“[Lin] is twice ironic, twice earnest, but also twice nihilistic, twice moral. Eeeee Eee Eeee’s characters wallow in their depression and/or are cleverly detached from that depression.”
Rain Taxi

“Writing about being an artist makes most contemporary artists self-conscious, squeamish and arch. Lin, however, appears to be comfortable, even earnest, when his characters try to describe their aspirations (or their shortcomings) […] Purposefully raw.”
Time Out New York

“Lin’s sympathetic fascination with the meaning of life is full of profound and often hilarious insights.”
Publishers Weekly

“A harsh and absurd new voice in writing. Employing Raymond Carver’s poker face and Lydia Davis’s bleak analytical mind, Lin renders ordinary—but tortured—landscapes of failed connections among families and lovers that will be familiar to anyone who has been unhappy […] the prose is poetic and downright David Lynch-ian
Time Out Chicago

“Tao Lin is the most distinctive young writer I’ve come upon in a long time: the most intrepid, the funniest, the strangest. He is completely unlike anyone else.”
—Brian Morton, author of Starting Out in the Evening

“Loved it. […] Shoplifting From American Apparel stands out. And maybe it’s similar, if stylistically opposite, from We Did Porn in this way. Both books are necessary, written for people who don’t have many books to choose from. They’re not competing with the rest of the books on the shelf. They’re on a different shelf where there aren’t too many books.On that same shelf you’ll find Ask The Dust, Frisk, The Fuck Up, The Basketball Diaries, Jesus’ Son, several books by Michelle Tea, Last Exit to Brooklyn, and Chelsea Girls. It’s a good shelf to be on, I think. Young, urban, self-sure, engaged.”
—Stephen Elliott, author of Happy Baby and The Adderall Diaries

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