by Zoe Pollock

Daniel Roberts profiles New York author Tao Lin and heralds him as the as the next big thing in net-savvy hipster lit. For those unfamiliar with Lin, here's the opening lines from Lin's Shoplifting From American Apparel:

Sam woke around 3:30 p.m. and saw no emails from Sheila. He made a smoothie. He lay on his bed and stared at his computer screen … About an hour later it was dark outside. Sam ate cereal with soymilk. He put things on eBay then tried to guess the password to Sheila's email account, not thinking he would be successful, and not being successful.

Robert's analysis:

Where Lin is coming from, and what his readers share, is a sense of loneliness. The malaise is not specific to New York, of course, but it is typical of a certain ilk of detached 20-somethings across the country. The loneliness could be attributed to the Internet. Lin and his literary peers spend hours and hours online, and although doing so fosters a sense of connectedness, it is equally isolating. No matter how many fans or fellow writers Lin "meets" online, at the end of the day it's still him, sitting at his laptop alone.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.