The Gospel of Anarchy by Justin Taylor

The Gospel of Anarchy by Justin Taylor
Published by Harper Perennial, an imprint of HarperCollins
Review copy provided by the publisher via NetGalley

David’s life is pretty miserable. He has a job he detests, lives in a town he loathes, is incredibly lonely, and the major highlight of each of his days is watching porn. After just another crappy day, David runs into an old acquaintance who invites him to the punk house known as Fishgut, where no one works but everyone is happy, where sex is plentiful, and where most people spend their days in alcohol and drug induced states. Eventually David learns about a former Fishgut resident, Parker, an anarchist whose writings inspire David to begin an anarchy cult of his own.

I have to just come right out and say it: this book is incredibly strange. I wouldn’t have picked it up myself if I’d read a summary first, but I was intrigued by the cover and the title. To be completely honest, I didn’t really enjoy the experience of reading this novel, but it did have its bright spots which leads me to believe that other readers would enjoy it more than I.

The biggest issue I had with the book is that I found myself confused more often than not. The point of view switched around like crazy and I would find myself needing several pages to figure out what was going on after every change. The whole book had this hazy, dream-like feel to it (either dream-like or acid trip-like, I’m not too sure which) which was interesting but also caused me to lose focus very easily.

Also, I just plain didn’t like any of the characters. And I couldn’t relate to any of them either. I felt no connection with them, I honestly couldn’t have cared less what happened to them, they were just words on the page to me. And for me, that’s bad because I absolutely need some type of connection with the characters in a novel to enjoy said novel.

The writing in The Gospel of Anarchy was really beautiful, though, and the tense switching around thing would be kind of cool if you were able to follow it (most people probably would be, I clearly had difficulty). And just because I didn’t like the book doesn’t mean you won’t – Jen from Devourer of Books really liked it. Even though I didn’t enjoy this book, I will say that if you like creative novels with solid writing and don’t mind profanity when you read, you may want to give The Gospel of Anarchy a try.

6 thoughts on “The Gospel of Anarchy by Justin Taylor”

  1. Wow… this does not sound like one I’d like either. =/ I have the netgalley to read too. I thought since it takes place in Gainesville it might be sort of fun but now I’m not sure. You stuck with it though! I don’t know that I would have.

  2. I can’t stand stream of consciousness narratives, which this sounds uncomfortably similar to. I wish I were better about them but I just don’t like them.

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