Flings can be found at--or ordered from--your favorite local independent bookseller, Barnes & Noble, or those other guys.
Now available in paperback. And there's also an audiobook.
Upcoming readings & appearances are listed here.
Year-end Accolades for Flings
"Justin Taylor's Flings is filled with stories both strikingly modern and perfectly structured, easily one of the year's finest short fiction collections."
- Largehearted Boy, "Favorite Short Story Collections of 2014"
"A wealth of disturbing knowledge awaits you here."
- PopMatters, "The Best Books of 2014"
"I really like that Justin Taylor put out an amazing debut collection of stories, then a novel, and then this even better collection of short stories so he could remind of us of not only how great a writer he is, but how great writers can improve from one book to the next."
- Jason Diamond, "A Year of Favorites" at Vol 1. Brooklyn (Flings also made Tobias Carroll's "Year of Favorites" too!)
"This book is Da Bomb! It's also a bomb, a small explosive device that will destroy you if you get too close. I dare anyone to tell me your heart's still in tact after reading 'Adon Olam,' a modern tale of drugs, Jewish summer camp, and bromance gone bad that sucker-punches at the end with its deep emotional resonance. I dare anyone to tell me you didn't explode with laughter after reading the mushroom-suit monologue that opens 'Sungold.' I dare anyone to finish this book and not be blown away."
- Adam Wilson, Electric Literature's Best Short Story Collections of 2014
An Amazon 2014 Best Book of the Year (short stories category)
One of the best book covers of 2014, says Paste magazine
One of the 22 Best Lines of 2014, says Slate
Long-listed for The Story Prize
Featured in the L.A. Times Holiday Book Guide 2014
Included in Dennis Cooper's Mine for yours: My favorite fiction, poetry, nonfiction, music, film, art & internet of 2014
Reviews of Flings
"[C]ontemporary, intelligent, and occasionally laugh-out-loud funny. These stories, by turns witty and piercing, together form an uncommon portrait of the human heart."
- Publishers Weekly (STARRED REVIEW)
"Though set in such far-flung places as the Pacific Northwest, the Deep South, New York City, and Hong Kong, Taylor's second short story collection (and masterful follow-up to his novel, The Gospel of Anarchy, 2011) is surprisingly focused. The similarly diverse and desolate characters--lovers, fiancees, widows, divorcees, and writers--must reevaluate their idea of happy endings. [...] Infused with pop-culture and literary references alike, Taylor's profoundly understated and often funny stories establish him as an unequivocal voice for the Internet age."
"Taylor has created a coherent, fully inhabited world... It's a book that demonstrates range by extending the author's skill with characterization and empathy to a broader range of voices and experiences, while at the same remaining rooted in his earlier work's commitment to a scruffy, idiosyncratic brand of realism. If it were an ambitious third album by a Britpop band, it would be Parklife, not Be Here Now."
- Andrew Martin, Brooklyn magazine
"Justin Taylor's Flings offer lasting pleasure."
- Elissa Schappell, Vanity Fair
"What unites these disparate characters is their sense of being harmed, or at the very least changed in ways that perplex them, by the passage of time. Cursed with intelligence and sensitivity, they are too keenly aware of what life has done to them, but not how it has done it, and their assessments of their internal states, wrought in Taylor's often stunning sentences, can be devastating."
- The Daily Beast, who were also so good as to name the book a "HOT READ" of the week.
"It's his strongest work to date--delicately observed and slyly funny."
- Kevin Nguyen, Amazon Best Books of the Month Selection, August 2014
"[H]e's managed to gather up all the confusion, repressed aggression, and misplaced acceptance of growing up in the nineties and becoming a young adult in the twenty-first century. [...] But behind his contemporary premises, Taylor is practicing a brand of acute, oblique realism that stretches back to Carver and Yates and even to Sherwood Anderson, in which events act as triggers for memories that are the real story."
- Andrew Jimenez, Paris Review Daily
"A great story collection, and Justin Taylor's Flings is a great story collection, swoops through the world like a butterfly net capturing not only the way we speak but the way we think. [...] Justin Taylor has written an expansive collection of beauty, wisdom, and big-heartedness."
- Will Chancellor, Bookforum
"[Taylor] has mastered the art funny/sad, and in doing so, his collection becomes a book as relatable as it is a fitting trademark of our modern lives."
- Heather Scott Partington, Electric Literature
"Taylor's writing has agelessness about it and is easy and genuine whether he is writing about high school students, college students, children or retirees. Read individually, these stories and characters give the reader pause, but when collected and read as a whole, they linger long past the covers of the book."
- Adult Summer Reading Club
"Taylor confronts the awkward truths of adult life in stories centered around people who share a collective desire to be genuinely good, despite their misguided tendencies. [...] Taylor's prose is brilliant, humorous and unwavering. His characters are marvels; both uniquely individual and equally empathetic, and united by their searches for things to fill the voids in their lives."
- Between the Covers (Baltimore County Public Library)
"This collection is vital, a shot through the body of the contemporary world."
- Aaron Calvin, Everyday eBook
"While I loved Taylor's debut novel, The Gospel of Anarchy, it was his first collection of stories, Everything Here Is the Best Thing Ever, that really suggested we had a new modern master of the short story on our hands. This second collection only proves it."
- Jason Diamond, Flavorwire, "Must-Read Books for August"
"One of the contemporary masters of the short story."
- Time Out New York; related: "10 New York Authors to Read Right Now"
"There are coming-of-age tales and those meant to teach lessons; there are also those that provoke thought and leave you wanting more."
- StyleBistro, August Book Club pick, paired with a white faux-alligator satchel.
"[C]ompulsively readable... Packed with stylish prose and keen insight, the author's stories take readers on brief, yet engaging emotional journeys across varied geography, all the while sifting to the surface stories of love, loss, identity, ambition, and uncertain futures, with characters that linger off the page."
- Bustle, "8 Must-Reads to Finish off Your Summer"
"Taylor is equal parts hilarious and prescient, capable of finding the sublime in the most prosaic, diverse material."
- Nick Ripatrazone, The Millions
"Do you see why these characters have stayed in my mind? They're original. They seem fully formed. And their creator clearly has a rare gift. He is wonderfully curious about people entirely different from himself, including the very old and the very young. Also, Taylor has a spiritual depth that has earned his work comparisons to the stories of Raymond Carver. Like Carver, Taylor fully embraces the fact that life is terrifying. Like Carver, Taylor has his characters behave in ways that they themselves don't understand."
- Dan Barrett, PopMatters
"[T]he men and women who populate Taylor's messy worlds are often sad, lonely, and more than slightly pathetic. But they're wonderfully endearing, too. The collection asks the question: Do any of us know what it means to be truly fulfilled?"
- Rachel Hurn, Interview
"Taylor is back again and is at his most convincing... [H]is writing is refreshingly free of the smirk and snark that has come to nearly define contemporary fiction. Taylor often successfully captures a whole demographic in a few words."
- The St. Louis Post-Dispatch (who also describe the title story as having a "grim breeziness," which just about made my day)
"These are characters that surprised me when reading the book: the ways in which they come together, the ways in which they evolve, the ways in which they hold true to principles or abandon them or jettison elements of their life because of them. That blend of groundedness and unpredictability ultimately creates a fantastic sense of the unexpected in Flings."
- Tobias Carroll, Vol. 1 Brooklyn
"Justin Taylor is one of the best short story writers out there today, and this collection only further cements that. [...] From Hong Kong to a Phish concert, lives are laid out in prose both deeply compassionate and unflinchingly honest."
"Taylor is one of my favorite contemporary storytellers--on the page I think I fear him as much as I revere him."
- Alissa Nutting, Drunken Boat, "What I'm Reading Now"
"Taylor's prose flows effortlessly and beautifully throughout Flings."
- The Onion A/V Club, in what turns out to be a deeply ambivalent review, though he let me squeak by with a B for my final grade.
"The only thing I hoped for was a longer book."
"Penetrating and unsentimental, Taylor's stories often depict people seeking gratification and their stubborn pursuit of love."
- Book Reporter
The Portland Mercury likes the stories that don't have too many characters.
The better of "the blog tour"
"Short stories are not a big time investment and if you decide that you like the stories, then you can move on to an author's other, longer works. After reading Flings, I am definitely interested in exploring Justin Taylor's other writing."
- The Book Binder's Daughter
"Recommended for those who love short stories and who find themselves drawn to slightly postmodern (or post-postmodern) explorations of individual identity and the power of human connection in a world that seems to have lost meaning and doesn't really know where it's going any longer."
- Dwell In Possibility
"What a refreshing read! These 12 short stories highlighting the feeling of uncertainty, of drifting, of the question mark that is life."
- Guiltless Reading
"All of the relationships have extreme ups and downs and Taylor does a wonderful job of exploring every kind of 'what-if' scenario he can manage to throw at his characters."
- Luxury Reading
"It's being faced with the very truth of today's post-college reality that's unsettling to someone like me and so with that in mind I can't say that I enjoyed these stories."
- No More Grumpy Bookseller, not entirely not grumpy after all.
"Justin Taylor's Flings, a collection of short stories, started out on a high note for me."
- A Lovely Bookshelf on the Wall, who was subsequently let down.
"Taylor's insightful stories illuminate the many ways we fall in love--and out of it--and how romances shape our identity both while they last and long after they conclude."
- Entomology of a Bookworm
"I found it to be a bit haunting and very memorable."
- A Book Geek
"Taylor writes with a sense of humor as well as great gravitas that really captures some of the beautiful and interesting moments in a person's life. Here even the ordinary is extraordinary."
- A Bookish Affair
"We all search for connection and our spot in life just maybe we do not find it until as the Baptist's in my town say: 'HeÕs been called home.'"
- Patricia's Wisdom
"I loved this collection because I didn't need to love the characters to understand their conflict."
- Consuming Culture
"Taylor's writing was bold, and witty, and caught me completely off guard at times."
- Bound by Words
"Somehow, even though they're not real people, these characters make me feel better about not knowing how things in my life are going to turn out. If you're into short stories, or interested in becoming so, I definitely recommend Flings. The stories are intellectually as well as emotionally engaging. I defy you to stop in the middle of one, it's pretty much impossible."
- The Whynott Blog
Advance Praise for Flings
"With such stylish and gut-bustingly funny sentences, and such a palpitant, beating heart, it is easy to overlook how serious and smart the stories in FLINGS are, arriving at one perfect ending after another. This is a book about people who strive for decency even as they rage against the warped and indecent rules of adulthood. Justin Taylor has been one of our best young writers for a while; with Flings, he takes a legit swing at major league greatness."
- Charles Bock, author of Beautiful Children
"These stories capture the casual absurdity of everyday life while simultaneously illuminating the small, sacred miracles of friendship, compassion, and intimacy. Taylor's writing is sharp and confident, dark and potent. Every story in this superb collection rings with poignancy and oddity and sly, perverse pleasure."
- Aryn Kyle, author of The God of Animals and Boys and Girls Like You and Me
"Justin Taylor is a writer who somehow makes available to us just how strange we are, here in late-capitalist early 21st-century America. Taylor's stories chart a path through the truth, and the result is that Flings is urgent, necessary, funny, and amazing. He is a writer we need to read."
- Alexander Chee, author of Edinburgh
"The greatest books deepen our understanding of who we are, and Flings is one such magic text of anthropology. Taylor allows his characters a vulnerability that enchants and stings--these stories ache with truth, and their generative, smarting beauty rewards the reader with revelation time and time again. I tore through this book with white knuckles and a sense of relief, grateful to finally learn more about the human condition from an author who was willing to give it to me straight. Taylor is a brilliant writer who can tell it like it is without sacrificing style, humor, or surprise."
- Alissa Nutting, author of Tampa