Justin Taylor’s debut novel, The Gospel of Anarchy, hit stores today, and I recommend you go out and buy it immediately, then head over to Word Bookstore in Greenpoint tonight at 7 for the launch party. Gospel is a beautifully written, insanely intelligent, and ultimately moving novel about both a very specific group of people in a very specific setting — sexed-up Anarcho-Christian stoner punks in Gainsville, Florida at the turn of the millennium — and also an entire generation of young people searching for meaning within a spiritually compromised America.
The setting is a quasi-commune called Fishgut, where cheap beer and gospel are consumed in equal measure, and evidence of God’s eternal love can be found in an ever-willing cadre of hottie nympho-punks. More than any writer of his generation so far, Taylor perfectly captures the feeling of being alive in that transitional moment just after the election of George W. Bush, and just before the full-scale proliferation of online culture. But Gospel of Anarchy is much more than a voice-of-a-generation bildgungsroman; this funny, sharp-tongued book takes us to a world both familiar and absolutely unique as seen through the eyes of a ragged gang of well-drawn and surprisingly relatable characters, whose half-baked ideas about government, religion, love, sex, and friendship turn out to be more complex than even they realize. You’ll be blown away by this book, re-reading it for years to come.