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>Shoplifting From American Apparel, Tao Lin (Melville House) 

You may think 'I could write that.' But you didn't.

I saw a poster once that said "Modern art = I could do that + Yeah, but you didn't." Tao Lin's novella might make you think, "I could write this," but Lin did, and he managed to write it without poisoning the content with pretentiousness. It's not a guide for petty thievery, but a scrapbook of true, boring contemporary thought. The dialogue reads like a great graphic novel without the drawings; other times it's like reading someone's MSN conversation history. Lin is too indifferent to apply categorical themes, so you're left reading a book that makes you laugh, sigh and mope before you reach the next paragraph.

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Vol 26, No 38
February 14, 2019

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