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January 22 , 2011

The Name of the Nearest River



2011 Eric Hoffer Award in the General Fiction
2011 The Thomas & Lillie D. Chaffin Award

“Alex Taylor is a fresh new voice, not just in Kentucky, but in American literature.”Chris Offutt

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"What is breathtakingly shown here, through accurate, cross-hatched watercolor paintings; excerpts from Sullivan's correspondence to her former teacher; and concise and poetic language, is the woman's patience and belief in the intelligence of her student to grasp the concepts of language," praised School Library Journal in a starred review.…

Like a room soaked in the scent of whiskey, perfume, and sweat, Alex Taylor's America is at once intoxicating, vulnerable, and full of brawn. These stories reveal the hidden dangers in the coyote-infested fields, rusty riverbeds, and abandoned logging trails of Kentucky. There we find tactile, misbegotten characters, desperate for the solace found in love, revenge, or just enough coal to keep an elderly woman's stove burning a few more nights. Echoing Flannery O'Connor and William Faulkner, Taylor manages fervor as well as humor in these dusky, shotgun plots, where in one story, a man spends seven days in a jon boat with his fiddle and a Polaroid camera, determined to enact vengeance on the water-logged body of a used car salesman; and in another, a demolition derby enthusiast nicknamed "Wife" watches his two wild, burning love interests duke it out, only to determine he would rather be left alone entirely. Together, these stories present a resonant debut collection from an unexpected new voice in Southern fiction.

Alex Taylor has worked as a day laborer on tobacco farms, as a car detailer at a used automotive lot, as a sorghum peddler, as a tender of suburban lawns, at various fast food chains, and at a cigarette lighter factory. He holds an MFA from the University of Mississippi and now teaches at Western Kentucky University. He lives in Rosine, Kentucky.

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