The Last Taxi Driver (Hardcover)

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"A wild, funny, poetic fever-dream that will change the way you think about America." --George Saunders                                                                                                           

Written by a former cabbie, The Last Taxi Driver is equal parts Bukowski and Portis, and an homage to a dying American industry.

The Last Taxi Driver is a darkly comic novel about a day in the life of an exhausted, middle-aged hackie about to lose his job to Uber, his girlfriend to lethargy, and his ability to stand upright to chronic back spasms. Lou—a lapsed novelist and UFO enthusiast who has returned to his home state of Mississippi after decades away—drives for a ramshackle taxi company that operates on the outskirts of a college town among the trailer parks and housing projects. With Lou’s way of life fast vanishing, an ex-dispatcher returns to town on the lam, triggering a bedlam shift which will test Lou’s sanity and perhaps cost him his life. Against this backdrop, Lou has to keep driving, and driving—even if that means aiding and abetting the host of criminal misfits haunting the back seat of his Town Car.

Written by a former cabbie, The Last Taxi Driver careens through the highways and backroads of North Mississippi as Lou becomes increasingly somnambulant and his fares increasingly eccentric. Equal parts Bukowski and Portis, Durkee's novel is an homage to a dying American industry.

About the Author

Lee Durkee is the author of the novel Rides of the Midway (WW Norton). His stories and essays have appeared in Harper’s Magazine, The Sun, Best of the Oxford American, Zoetrope: All Story, Tin House, New England Review, and Mississippi Noir. In 2021 Scribner will publish his memoir Stalking Shakespeare, which chronicles his decade-long obsession with trying to find lost portraits of William Shakespeare. A former cab driver, he lives in North Mississippi. The Last Taxi Driver is his first novel in twenty years.

Praise For…

A wild, funny, poetic fever-dream that will change the way you think about America. Durkee is a true original—a wise and wildly talented writer who knows something profound about that special strain of American darkness that comes out of blended paucity, materialism, and addiction—but also, in the joy and honesty and wit of the prose, he offers a way out. I loved this book and felt jangled and inspired and changed by it.
— George Saunders

The Last Taxi Driver is unpredictable, emotionally moving, and laugh-out-loud funny. Lee Durkee writes with honesty and deep insight. This book is filled with compassion. I loved it. The best book I’ve read in years.

— Chris Offutt, author of Country Dark

This book’s a blast! A super-long shift in the
life of a north Mississippi taxi driver makes for hilarious moments as well as
lyrical ones. Durkee’s Mississippi is entirely his own as he parades a line of
passengers that are as colorful, sad, and strange as any in literature. A
terrific novel by a terrific writer!
— Tom Franklin, author of Crooked Letter, Crooked, Letter

It may be the worst day of Lou Bishoff’s life, but The Last Taxi Driver is a frenetic, voyeuristic delight. A Mississippi Buddhist doing his best to be kind, Lou ferries around meth heads and rehab escapees, drives overgrown frat boys to and from drug dens, and wonders at what point he stops being a cab driver and starts being an accomplice. Timely and compulsively readable, Durkee’s long-awaited second novel makes me regret how much I’ve missed by being a (reasonably) sober and compliant passenger.

— Mary Miller
Product Details
ISBN: 9781947793392
ISBN-10: 194779339X
Publisher: Tin House Books
Publication Date: March 3rd, 2020
Pages: 280
Language: English