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The Last Taxi Driver

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  90 ratings  ·  31 reviews
Written by a former cabbie, The Last Taxi Driver is a darkly comic novel about a middle-aged hackies daylong descent into madness, heartbreak, and murder. Loua lapsed novelist and UFO aficionadodrives 70-hour weeks for a ramshackle taxi company that operates on the outskirts of a north Mississippi college town among the trailer parks and housing projects. With Uber moving ...more
Hardcover, 280 pages
Published March 3rd 2020 by Tin House Books
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Average rating 3.93  · 
Rating details
 ·  90 ratings  ·  31 reviews


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Jenny (Reading Envy)
I finished this last night, a book of connected stories from the perspective of a taxi driver in northern Mississippi, who spends most of his time on hospital, prison, and drunk passengers. The author used to drive a taxi so I'm guessing he may have drawn from his experiences. I think someone should turn it into a TV show, perfect for these memorable characters.

This came out March 3 from Tin House and I had a copy through Edelweiss.
William Boyle
Oct 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A stone cold masterpiece. A Mississippi Buddhist cabbie who loves Bill Hicks, Shakespeare, and UFOs tries not to be destroyed by the act of helping people get where they need to be. Havent felt this way since reading JESUS SON and BRINGING OUT THE DEAD for the first time. Raw, revelatory, honest, full of kindness and anger and sadness and compassion. ...more
Tzipora
Mar 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Thats the beauty of the job. No matter how weird it gets, or how terribly it smells, they will be gone soon.

Lou is a taxi Driver in Mississippi. Hes a bad Buddhist who, through endless hours on the job, finds his mind slipping to anger and frustration or as he says early on in the book Unless I tell you otherwise Im always flipping somebody off. He works because he has to, doing this job after a slew of firings. But hes a good taxi driver, knows the fastest routes anywhere, and has the whole
...more
Nicole reading_with_nicole
Feb 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
How many of you have had a taxi experience? Do you recall your driver being friendly, possible disgruntle..lol I have decades of taxi driver stories because living in New York city or the Bronx taxis or mass transit is the way to get around
Lou Bishoff is a Mississippi Buddhist taxi driver.. A man who is searching for himself in some ways.. He loves Red Bull, Shakespeare and UFOs.. Lou knows his way around and he knows his clients.. This book has a cast of characters that will keep you
...more
Suzanne
Mar 09, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads, fiction
Slice-of-life for an overworked taxi driver with an abundance of opinions based on the seedy characters he delivers around Memphis. Some parts are fun, others drag; on the whole this was a creative book that needs a certain type of reader. Not sure I was the right demographic. I received my copy from the publisher through NetGalley.
Andrew Barnes
Feb 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
Firstly, thank you Tin House Galley Club for the Advanced Reader's Copy, it was fun to sit in the strangler's seat with Lou.

It is really hard to be good! It is sure hard to be decent even. The crushing weight of our often unrealistic expectations (towards others and ourselves) is made heavier by our obligations (family, friends, work) and makes it hard to so much as mount the energy to put forth the energy to do more than exist (even after 5 Red Bulls..and this is before you throw trauma in the
...more
Kim
Feb 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oh my. I did wonder about the recommendation from George Saunders. It sure does promise a lot to the reader before the book itself even begins. Turns out it was 100% correct. This book is a masterpiece of fiction. I was going to say something cheesy like "journalistic fiction" but whatever you get the point. Read this. It's amazing.

I cannot stop thinking about Lou's story. So many tiny little straight out of left field nuggets of information are thrown at the reader much like the bugs pelting
...more
Andrew
Dec 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
I have heard a lot about Durkee and was excited to read this book. I am a big fan of southern or country noir and this book has its nourish elements as well as lots of stream of consciousness and hallucinatory passages. Durkee is a great writer but the lack of a linear story was a drawback to me. I enjoyed the book and would recommend it but not quite my cup of tea.
Matthew
Mar 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
Ive had some memorable experiences in cabs, much of which due to those who drive them. But then again, who hasnt? Cabbies are like some magical hybrid creature: one part priest, one part therapist, one part chauffeur. Its not out of the ordinary to find yourself trusting one after just a few minutes; suddenly youre swapping stories, divulging secrets, confessing sins.

But why? Why do we let our guards down, put our faith in these temporary charioteers? Is it just that, the fact theyre temporary,
...more
Vivian Stevenson
Mar 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
Thank you to Tin House Books / NetGalley for the early digital copy in exchange for an honest review!

"Actually I am a demolition derby of revved-up opinions crashing into each other."


This book is 100% dark humor. If you arent used to the ability to brush off tough topics such as suicide, then this might not be for you. Dark humor isnt my niche, but my brain definitely understands it a bit more than slapstick or blue comedy. Since this is about a cab driver, I expected those types of jokes to
...more
Lauren
Feb 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Lou Bishoff loves Beethoven, reads Bhuddist philosophy, and drives a cab around a Mississippi town where everyone knows everyone's business. Throw in a car witch, albino possum, lots of airfreshener, and the ghosts of his former passengers, and you find a microcosm of America in the back of Lou's cab--frat boys frequenting drug dens, elderly passengers needing help into grasshopper infested trailers, riders struggling with meth addiction, or regulars spending half their pay on their way to and ...more
Nelda Brangwin
Mar 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
A travelogue for Mississippi this book is not. Durkee, who is a former taxi driver and I wonder how much of himself he has written into the protagonist, Lou. Lou at one time hoped to be a writer in New York City, but because of a series of lifes twists and turns has ended up in an unnamed Mississippi town driving a black Lincoln Town Car, for All Saints Taxi. His boss and owner of the company sticks him with a real variety of riders. From old black people in project housing who must go to ...more
Ann
Feb 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
I want to thank Tin House. I was lucky to win a copy as a member of the Galley Club.

This was departure for me - a little outside my interests, but I am so glad to have had the opportunity to stretch myself. Lacking a story line, it took me a little to acclimate myself to Durkee's means to convey the story.

Lou is an educated, complicated and troubled soul. His choice of words was marvelous. It was apparent to me that he is searching for himself and at the moment feels that he is not capable of
...more
Patricia Geller
Mar 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a really quirky novel. As the summary tells you the plot, I will not recount it but it gives you an incredible portrait of life with the down and out living on the outskirts of a small college town in Mississippi. The author is great at capturing the quiet and not so quiet desperation of people's lives as seen through the main characters, ex professor, now taxi driver for a crappy taxi company. The built in racism in Mississippi as well as the enormous differences in privilege between ...more
Brandon
Feb 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is a wild ride of a book. What starts off, seemingly, to be a novel in stories turns quickly into a singular narrative, but even then, the story is told in short chapters, which makes the read quick and engaging.

The narrative moves like a drive through a city: speeding up at times, slowing down at times, but always offering a new landscape out the window. Though I didn't love this book, I did enjoy it. The characters are fresh, even in their caricaturishness, and Durkee weaves easily
...more
Kathleen Gray
Feb 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
Lou, a Buddhist and failure at a number of things, is a taxi driver in Mississippi- this is the story of his passengers and his life over the course of a day. Told in short bursts, this is more a set of character studies than a plot driven novel. That's not a bad thing because it lets you in to the secrets of any number of people, some of whom will cause significant trouble for Lou. There's no happy endings here but it's a good read for the language and the sharp insight Durkee offers into these ...more
Tim
Feb 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
Thank you Tin House Galley for the Advance Readers Copy of Lee Durkees The Last Taxi Driver. I felt the same way reading this as I did reading Denis Johnsons collection Jesus Son.

Lou Bishoff is a Buddhist taxi driver transporting the down and out to and from rehab centers, hospitals, run down motels and liquor stores. Hes a failed English teacher who loves UFOs, Shakespeare, Red Bulls and Beethoven. The writing is so good. This was my intro to Durkee. Ill definitely be searching for more.
...more
Aisling
Mar 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
An impossible to put down glimpse into a life few of us know; hardscrabble Mississippi and the rejects of society who still use taxis--hospital discharges with no family, meth addicts, the lonely elderly, alcoholics who at least have the good sense not to drive themselves. Which may not seem like a compelling read but the lens--a Shakespeare loving, ufo believing, fired teacher with a love hate relationship with his state and a thoughtful if twitchy way of viewing the world and the flotsam and ...more
Rachel Cooper
Feb 16, 2020 rated it liked it
One day in the life of Lou Bishoff will have you seriously doubting basic humanity. The book is a slow burn that does culminate in an violent ending, although not one that was unexpected. You don't know how much of what the protagonist remembers and believes is actually real or is all his imagination. The characters are memorable and as someone who lives in Memphis and is familiar with the Delta, a lot of the descriptions of people and places rang true. I think this is a book that will stick ...more
Sean Courtney
I loved this wild, careening, slice-of-life portrait of a vulgar Shakespeare-loving, over-educated, under-employed, UFO-abductee, driving in and around Oxford...I mean...Gentry, Mississippi and Memphis, Tennessee. Durkee has obviously spent some time with Bukowski and Vonnegut...as well as a few short story collections from the (old) OXFORD AMERICAN. The stream of characters entering and exiting his cab are sometimes instantly recognizable and sometimes too fantastic to think real. His ...more
Sylvia
Mar 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
Outrageous Southern Noir. What a cast of outcasts, meth heads, low lifes and addicts, headed up by the fallen from grace taxi driver himself. Its funny and awful and tucked away in places is compassion for all the losers of life. Definitely not for everyone! Maybe not for anyone, but I found the language clever and have read nothing quite like it. My friends who read this review....I cant tell you that youll agree. ...more
Jeffrey Chassen
Jan 28, 2020 rated it liked it
I have to be honest and say that I was disappointed with this book. It sounded very intriguing from the description, but it was a very slow burn, and didnt catch me in any real way. The characters felt like paper dolls to me - there wasn't much life to them. I was hoping for something much more substantial.
Sharon
Mar 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: giveaways
Brilliant writing. The story of a day in the life of taxi driver Lou....the "nurse Jackie" of the cabbie profession. Loved this darkly witty little book.

Received this copy through a Goodreads giveaway, thanks!
Jody Bilyeu
Mar 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic. Funny, insightful, terrifying, sad, true. It was also a relief to see many of my behavior/symptoms/glitches sympathetically limned on the page.
Emmie
Mar 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020-releases
Bizarre but funny. Reminded me of Tales From the Gas Station.
Stan
Mar 26, 2020 rated it did not like it
Not my cup of tea. Made it through about four chapters. But hearing stories about the rednecks, addicts, drug dealers, etc. is not where I want to spend my reading time.
Aida Alberto
Mar 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
Highly entertaining with laugh out loud moments. It's a story that you must keep reading. Very entertaining. Absolutely worth picking up and reading. Happy reading! #TheLastTaxiDriver #NetGalley
Edna
Feb 06, 2020 rated it it was ok
I wanted to love the book... or at least like it. It just seemed to go on and no real storyline. I did not finish,
Faith 09
Mar 17, 2020 rated it liked it
Interesting yet kind of boring.
Trevor Groce
Feb 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
If you were to pick up a novel set in Mississippi, you likely wouldnt expect its protagonist to be a taxi driver. If you were picking up a book about a taxi driver, you likely wouldnt expect it to be set in Mississippi. Such is my ignorance that I had to read the synopsis for this novel twice to be sure I had it right. A taxi driver ... in Mississippi? A day in the life of a taxi driver in Mississippi. Written by a former taxi driver in Mississippi. I had to read it, if even just for noveltys ...more
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