MLA Platinum Award Press Release

The Name of the Nearest River Summary and Reviews

The Name of the Nearest River

Stories

by Alex Taylor

The Name of the Nearest River by Alex Taylor X
The Name of the Nearest River by Alex Taylor
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Book Summary

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.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. The descriptions of the countryside alone make Taylor's stories worth digging into, but with his characters and all of their petty grievances and desperate hopes, this first-time author inspires a mix of wonder, love, and pity for his sick, sad characters." - Publishers Weekly

"With their precise sensory detail and dark humor, these memorable stories bring to mind Flannery O'Connor and the promise of an exciting literary career." - Library Journal

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Author Information

Alex Taylor

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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