- Chad Taylor (writer)
Chad Taylor was born and raised in Auckland. He received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Elam and worked as assistant editor on Rip It Up magazine. Taylor was the recipient of the Buddle Findlay Sargeson Fellowship for literature in 2001 and was the University of Auckland Literary Fellow in 2003. His novels have been published in Germany, Italy and France. In 2006 he was one of 12 New Zealand authors invited to tour France for Les Belles Etrangeres. He currently resides in New Zealand.
Taylor's style can be described as neo-noir. His themes include murder and love, sex, reality, identity and life in an intense, urban environment. He acknowledged the noir label in a 2009 interview with Primastoria.com:
I’ve basically deconstructed crime novels: I’ve taken aspects of crime novels, rewritten them, taken them apart. People used to ask me, “What do you write?”... I just don’t know. But you have come up with a word for what you do. ‘Noir’ kind of fits it.
In 1998, his novel "Heaven" was made into a feature film by Miramax. The film was produced by Sue Rogers, directed by Scott Reynolds and starred Martin Donovan. Taylor has also written for film including the original screenplay for the short film "Funny Little Guy" (1994), directed by Chris Graves. In May 2003 the NZ Listener listed him as one of "New Zealand's Top Ten Novelists Under 40."
"Electric" (2003) is set in Auckland during the power cuts that blacked out the city in 1998. Time Out London selected the novel as Book of the Week on Jan 22, 2003. Time Out critic Roger Howard said:
His setting is a New Zealand you won't see in Lord of the Rings: a city suffering from the same urban malaise as glitzier metropolises on other continents. Our protagonist, Samuel Usher, is a drug addict who supports himself by recovering data from damaged computers. He falls in with a couple of drifters who occupy themselves with recondite mathematics. But the favoured activity for all three involves powders on polished surfaces. When Jules dies in mysterious circumstances, Usher sets off to find out why. Thematically, Taylor's concerns are twofold: the infinite extent of digitised culture; and the limitless flood of narcotics (not to mention the global industry behind it). "Electric" looks at what happens when chaos rises up to warp these apparently unassailable worlds.
The novel Departure Lounge (2006) is based on the 1979 Erebus crash. Washington Post critic Jonathan Yardley said of the novel:
His style owes a lot to Raymond Chandler and lesser apostles of noir, but at the same time it's very much his own. His prose is spare but with a strong undercurrent of emotion; "cool" certainly is the word for him, but there's a good deal of heat beneath.
In 2008 Guardian (UK) critic Maxim Jakubowski described Chad Taylor as a cult author:
"Taylor is a minimalist whose tortured characters populate a world where silence and night form a disconsolate backdrop for their musings and meanderings across a landscape of bleak, concrete cities... (He has) a profound empathy for the losers in our midst and an acute sense of place and the bizarre in everyday life."
Taylor's new novel "The Church of John Coltrane" (2009) is a sequel to "Heaven."
In 2009 New Zealand composer Warwick Blair announced that he is working on an opera based on "Electric."
List of Publications
- Pack of Lies (1994), Novel, (Hazard Press (NZ); Mana Verlag (Germany))
- Heaven (1994), Novel, (David Ling (NZ))
- The Man Who Wasn't Feeling Himself (1995), Short Story Collection, (David Ling (NZ))
- Shirker (2000), Novel, (Canongate Books (UK & Commonwealth); Christian Bourgois (France); DTV (Germany); Neri Pozza (Italy); Walker Books (USA)
- Electric (2003), Novel, (Jonathan Cape (UK); Random House (UK & Commonwealth); Christian Bourgois (France))
- Departure Lounge (2006), Novel, (Jonathan Cape, (UK); Random House (UK & Commonwealth); Christian Bourgois (France); Europa Editions (USA); Edizione EO (Italy))
- The Church of John Coltrane (2009), novel, (Christian Bourgois, (France))
- Chad Taylor biography at the New Zealand Book Council
- IMDB listing for Chad Taylor
- Chad Taylor official author site
- Chad Taylor database at the New Zealand Literature File
- Essays and articles written by Chad Taylor
- Guardian article on Chad Taylor
- Washington Post review of "Departure Lounge"
- Primastoria.com interview, January 2009
- Quote Unquote magazine interview, 2005
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