LEE DURKEE chats to Paul Burke about his novel THE LAST TAXI DRIVER published in the UK by Oldcastle Books. In a brutally honest interview Lee talks about his fictional driver, Lou, and the life of a taxi driver in North Mississippi, the enemy - Uber, racism and Shakespeare.
THE LAST TAXI DRIVER is a darkly comic novel about a day in the life of an exhausted, middle-aged cabbie 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 resurfaces in 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.
Lee Durkee is the author of the novel Rides of the Midway (W. W. 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.
Music courtesy of Southgate and Leigh
Produced by Junkyard Dog
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