Bed/Eeeee Eee Eeee
By Tao Lin. Melville House, $14.95/$14.95.
The simultaneous publication of Tao Lin’s debut story collection, Bed, and novel, Eeeee Eee Eeee, announces 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. In “Love is a Thing on Sale for More Money than There Exists,” growing terrorism fears parallel the deterioration of a young Brooklyn couple. The story’s protagonist, Garret, scolds his chronically late girlfriend, “If a terrorist said to you that if you were late he’d kill you and your family, would you be one minute early? You wouldn’t; you’d be half the fucking day early.” Sometimes Lin is a bully holding a magnifying glass to ants, while at other moments he labors (often unsuccessfully) to nurse characters back to health and hope.
Similar in tone, Lin’s debut novel, the title of which is taken from the sounds dolphins make, is loosely structured around Andrew, a lovelorn and somewhat numb Domino’s delivery boy trapped in a bland suburbia populated by talking and teleporting bears, moose and dolphins that murder celebrities such as Elijah Wood and Salman Rushdie. The prose is poetic and downright David Lynch–ian, painting a world in which it’s not surprising for one young man to tell another, “I just thought about going to Seattle with you and murdering your dad.” —Jeb Gleason-Allured