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, The Best of the Oxford American, Zoetrope: All Story, Tin House, New England Review, Mississippi Noir, and many other places. His second novel The Last Taxi Driver will be published in March 2020 by Tin House Books. In 2021 Scribner will publish his memoir Stalking Shakespeare, which chronicles his decade-long obsession with trying to find lost portraits of William Shakespeare and get them x-rayed. He lives in North Mississippi.
FROM TIN HOUSE BOOKS MARCH 2020 (pre-order links below)
THE LAST TAXI DRIVER is a darkly comic novel about a driver’s daylong descent into madness and murder. Lou Bishoff is a middle-aged hackie for a cab company that operates among the trailer parks and housing projects. With Uber’s arrival looming, and Lou’s way of life vanishing, an ex-dispatcher returns to town on the lam, triggering a bedlam shift which will test Lou’s sanity and maybe cost him his life. 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 fare become increasingly eccentric. Equal parts Bukowski and Portis, Durkee’s novel is an homage to a dying American industry.
“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–Booker Prize winning author of Lincoln in the Bardo
AND COMING OUT FROM SCRIBNER IN 2020:
AWARDED THE MISSISSIPPI ART COMMISSION GRANT FOR NONFICTION IN 2020
Moving portrait by portrait, STALKING SHAKESPEARE documents the scandalous history of Shakespeare portraits and the author’s maniacal attempts to time travel through layers of paint back into the world of the Elizabethan occult.
“So welcome to the Shakespeare Fun House, where four centuries of frauds stare out at you from inside warped mirrors. How, I wondered (as I turned dazed circles) was a novice like myself to decide which portraits to begin investigating? Following some initial discouragement I hit upon my strategy, a path less taken. Since it seemed obvious that Shakespeare had been getting prettier by the century, I decided to ignore the boy-toy bards so popular with modern scholars and hone in on those more neglected portraits, the wretched-refuse Shakespeares: the homeless, homely, and tempest-tossed mutts nobody wanted to be humanity’s greatest ambassador.”
AVAILABLE FROM W.W. NORTON: