Friday, February 19, 2010
My first short-story-collection review this year...
THE NAME OF THE NEAREST RIVER
by Alex Taylor
Alex Taylor’s debut comprises a series of heart-wrenching stories set in rural Kentucky. And what a cast of characters he employs. Cattle killers, coal thieves, angst-ridden teens, demolition derby enthusiasts, and the like. In both the way his characters are drawn — with an almost impossible empathy for the often hopeless, desperate, and/or cruel — and the way he describes the dreary Kentucky environs in which the stories are set, Taylor evokes a sense of despair that lingers with you.
Shades of Raymond Carver, William Faulkner and Cormac McCarthy here; but make no mistake, Taylor’s voice is his own. These stories will hang on you, disturb you. And yes, you’ll be much better off for reading them.
(Highlights: “Winter in the Blood,” “The Evening Part of Daylight.”)
THE SKINNY: BLEAK, BEAUTIFUL, RESONANT.