Taylor, Chad 1964-

views updated

Taylor, Chad 1964-

PERSONAL:

Born November, 1964, in Auckland, New Zealand. Education: Auckland University, Elam School of Fine Arts, BFA, 1988.

ADDRESSES:

E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Novelist and screenwriter, 1993—. Auckland University, Auckland, New Zealand, teacher of creative writing.

AWARDS, HONORS:

Buddle Findlay Sargeson Fellowship for literature, 2001; Auckland University Literary Fellow, 2003; cited as one of the ten best New Zealand novelists under forty, New Zealand Listener, 2003; London Time Out's Book of the Week citation, 2003, for Electric.

WRITINGS:

Pack of Lies (novel), Hazard Press (Christchurch, New Zealand), 1993.

Heaven (novel), David Ling (Auckland, New Zealand), 1994.

The Man Who Wasn't Feeling Himself (short stories), David Ling (Auckland, New Zealand), 1995.

(With Scott Reynolds) Heaven (screenplay; based on his novel), Miramax, 1998.

Shirker: A Novel, Walker (New York, NY), 2000.

Electric (novel), Jonathan Cape (London, England), 2003.

Departure Lounge (novel), Europa Editions (New York, NY), 2006.

Also author of screenplays The Alibi Girl, Funny Little Guy, 1994, and Oilskin, 2005. Contributor of stories to anthologies and collections, including String of Pearls, Allen & Unwin, 1996; Boys' Own Stories, Tandem Press, 2000; Essential New Zealand Short Stories, selected by Owen Marshall, Godwit Press, 2002; An Affair of the Heart: A Celebration of Frank Sargeson's Centenary, edited by Graeme Lay and Stephen Stratford, Cape Catley Ltd., 2003; The Flamingo Anthology of New Zealand Short Stories, edited by Michael Morrissey, HarperCollins, 2004; and Other Voices: New Writers and Writing in New Zealand. Contributor of short stories to periodicals, including Sunday Star Times' Sunday magazine, Dimsum, and Listener.

ADAPTATIONS:

Electric has been optioned as a feature film.

SIDELIGHTS:

New Zealand novelist Chad Taylor has established a reputation as one of the leading modern writers from the South Pacific island nation. His works have been compared by critics to the film noir genre of moviemaking. His novels tell gritty, contemporary stories set in his native Auckland, but do so in a nonlinear, experimental way that emphasizes their bizarre, unusual qualities. The books, the author told Elise Rana in an interview published on his Web site, "have a mysterious quality but the mystery isn't always revealed. I like stories that take you into strange worlds. I find it difficult to attach one label to my work. People generally ‘get’ the novels once they start reading them, so I'm happy with any label that encourages someone to pick [the book] up."

Critics characterize many of Taylor's works as "noir novels" that depict gritty, urban life in New Zealand, and feature unreliable narrators of questionable backgrounds, memorable characters, and wonderfully bizarre settings and plots. One example of this can be found in Shirker: A Novel. Taylor introduces Ellerslie Penrose as his narrator in the book. Penrose claims that he is a futures broker, but his real occupation, if any, is obscure. He becomes involved in a police investigation after he blunders into a crime scene and walks away with an important piece of evidence. His personal investigation of the crime is complicated by police suspicion, and gradually elements are revealed that link Penrose's life with that of the victim. "The more you bring to Shirker, the more fun you'll have with it," stated Peter Wolfe in Antipodes. "The book's references to pop culture, an old diary (some of which was written in invisible ink) containing a family secret, and a chase through Auckland's urban maze lead to the naming of a 126-year-old murderer." Taylor's "clever atmospherics and an assured command of language," declared a Publishers Weekly contributor, "keep the reader intrigued."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Antipodes, June, 2002, Peter Wolfe, "Gruesome Comedy," p. 84.

Booklist, September 1, 2000, Connie Fletcher, review of Shirker: A Novel, p. 70; March 1, 2006, Joanne Wilkinson, review of Departure Lounge, p. 33.

Kirkus Reviews, March 1, 2006, review of Departure Lounge, p. 206.

Publishers Weekly, September 11, 2000, review of Shirker, p. 68; February 20, 2006, review of Departure Lounge, p. 134.

ONLINE

Chad Taylor Home Page,http://www.chadtaylor.co.nz (November 15, 2006), author biography and author interviews with Ben Douglas and Elise Rana.

New Zealand Book Council,http://www.bookcouncil.org.nz/ (November 15, 2006), author biography.

About this article

Taylor, Chad 1964-

Updated About encyclopedia.com content Print Article