Evan Carlyle, a bright young man on the make who emigrated to Canada during the Vietnam War, returns to his hometown and runs into the last person he wants to see, his old buddy, the legendary hell-raiser, Alex Warner. Evan’s life has been a series of successes; he has a flashy girlfriend and makes good money as a producer for CBC Radio. Alex has not been so lucky; he’s trapped in a dead-end marriage and owns a failing service station hit hard by the 1970s energy crisis.
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Fueled by several cases of beer, these two head south in a snowstorm in an attempt to recreate their lost glory days. Inevitably they must confront unfinished business from the past, including their haunting memories of Elaine Isaac, the wild girl they both loved in high school.
This is the first of Maillard’s novels set in the “part-real part-fictional” town of Raysburg, modeled on his hometown of Wheeling. A story of a past that cannot be forgotten or forgiven, of courage and betrayal, and of coming home to Appalachia, Alex Driving South is now widely regarded as a foundational work in West Virginian literature.
“A novel whose passionate and afflicted world is splendidly realized.”
Myrna Kostash, Edmonton Journal
“A blistering novel…”
Adele Freedman, The Globe and Mail
“A richly textured, deeply felt story… funny, vulgar, sad, wise, and at times brutal… This one is a real treat.”
“A brilliantly written, astringent novel.”
The Malahat Review