The Name of the Nearest River 

  
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. The stories in THE NAME OF THE NEAREST RIVER 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 johnboat 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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