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The Last Taxi Driver

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  653 ratings  ·  140 reviews
Hailed by George Saunders as “a true original—a wise and wildly talented writer,” Lee Durkee takes readers on a high-stakes cab ride through an unforgettable shift. Meet Lou—a lapsed novelist, struggling Buddhist, and UFO fan—who drives for a ramshackle taxi company that operates on the outskirts of a north Mississippi college town. With Uber moving into town and his way o ...more
Hardcover, 280 pages
Published March 3rd 2020 by Tin House Books
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Average rating 3.75  · 
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Jul 30, 2020 rated it liked it
Voice driven. Interesting premise. Feels authentic. Not my cup of tea.
Martin Clark
May 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
As a fiction writer myself, Lee Durkee makes me feel like a fraud, a laggard, and a plodder--his writing is that sharp and spectacular. He's an author's author, a master, and every word and riff in THE LAST TAXI DRIVER is spot-on. The tiniest details are honed and perfect, and the characters and plot strands meet in the final pages for a jaw-dropping ending. I've already "borrowed" his great line "the Cicero of quitting" and plan to use it every chance I get. I hope this novel finds the huge aud ...more
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. Haven’t 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.
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.
May 07, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: audio, overdrive
The author has skill with description of characters and situations. However, these comedic vignettes of the down and outs of Mississippi weren’t really my taste. Many of them read like riffs by a stand up comic. Nevertheless, I would be willing to try a novel written by this author.
Kasa Cotugno
Lou Bishoff. Sweet Lou. Lucky Gun Lou. Lou is a decent man who goes that extra step for his fares, even when they don't appreciate or deserve it. He lives in upper Mississippi up near Tennessee, close enough to be sent on cabruns to the Memphis International Airport or to pick up patients being released from the "organ swap hospital." As we spend this taxing taxiing day with him, we wonder how DOES he do it, with his back spasms, his down and out relationship with the owner of the company that o ...more
Kathryn in FL
At more than 50% completion, I have decided not to abandon this book. It is most likely me. It wasn't my taste. There is humor interspersed that gave me occasion to laugh but for the most part it is to sad. The protagonist (who once was a writing professor) now a taxi driver, who has a bunch of regulars with sad lives and questionable decisions to fulfill.

The author is a professor, who drives a taxi cab. I am not sure how much of this is autobiographical. I see the talent and while some humor i
Jan 02, 2021 rated it really liked it
An wild romp through the dregs of a Mississippi nowheresville in the company of a hyper-intelligent misfit cabbie. The plot is meandering and minimal, so most of the book consists of the narrator describing his appalling job, the miserable people he encounters, and horrific Southern dysfunction. It all rang true to my ear, though in truth I don't know much about that milieu. Though it lacked suspense and character development, the book is still engaging because of its invincibly strong narrative ...more
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 j ...more
Jul 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
The Last Taxi Driver by Lee Durkee Not living where taxis are relevant, I know nothing about taxis or cab drivers. I was 40 before I rode in a cab. But for a book sort of about a ‘day in the life’ of a taxi driver, I had no idea what to expect, but I loved what I got!!

I didn’t know that Mississippi even had a town car taxi service!!! But Lou Bishoff, or Lucky Gun Lou (as some might know him as) is the guy that drives the taxi. I found him to be a rather respectable guy that was helpful to most of his patrons. He did seem to
Mar 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
“That’s 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. He’s 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 I’m always flipping somebody off.” He works because he has to, doing this job after a slew of firings. But he’s a good taxi driver, knows the fastest routes anywhere, and has the w
Mar 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
I’ve had some memorable experiences in cabs, much of which due to those who drive them. But then again, who hasn’t? Cabbies are like some magical hybrid creature: one part priest, one part therapist, one part chauffeur. It’s not out of the ordinary to find yourself trusting one after just a few minutes; suddenly you’re 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 they’re tempo
Dec 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
The Last Taxi Driver takes us through the days of cab Driver Lou, driving in a town called Gentry, Mississippi, taking us through a cross section of the crazed and the desperate. All are trying to eke out an existence in a world that has largely forgotten them. And for Lou’s part, he is working 70-hour weeks for a sometimes-psychotic dispatcher and a woman named Stella who runs the cab company. He earns just enough to keep working, all the while threatened by the impending appearance of Uber rid ...more
May 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
At times funny, many times sad. This is written by a former taxi driver, and the trials and tribulations of himself and his customers throughout the years. I oft read it and thought, can this be true? No doubt many things have changed with the emergence of Uber and Lyft. The people and places described in these stories are from the trailer parks, drug addicts and those in recovery, criminal elements. The decent into his own madness is evident when little if anything changes during the book. I've ...more
Jason Allison
May 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The rare one day read. Durkee’s voice grabs you by the throat and bounces you off every wall. It’s kinetic, loopy, wry and insightful and a hell of a ride. A contender for my favorite read of the year.
Jason Bergman
Jul 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
An excellent stream-of-consciousness novel, very much in the tradition of Bukowski. Highly recommended, if that's your thing (it's definitely mine!). ...more
Jonathan Waugh
Sep 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Possibly the best book I’ve read this year.
Mar 09, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, first-reads
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.
Mar 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I can't tell yet if this is my all-time favorite book or just way the hell up there. I read it twice in the last two weeks, and I never do that.
It's a brilliant fever dream of one day in the life of a troubled but ultimately good-hearted Shakespeare loving, conspiracy theorist cabbie, that expertly elevates the insanity at a magician's pace.
I can't stop thinking about it. Its tragic, hilarious, bizarre, and a little bit sexy(?).

I wish I could read it again for the first time.

What a fucking ri
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 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 UFO’s.. Lou knows his way around and he knows his clients.. This book has a cast of characters that will keep you enterta
Jennifer Myers
Dec 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
A snapshot into the livelihood of a taxi driver in rural Mississippi (but really, it applies probably anywhere in the US). Quite the cast of characters come in and out of the front and back seats of the cab.... ER patients, meth heads, washed up businessmen, and the locals who just need a ride.

Totally funny stream of consciousness narrative from Lou, the taxi driver, as he makes up scenarios and finds himself in weird situations. Some chapters tie together but you wouldn’t have to read them all
Pat Harris
Jul 17, 2020 rated it liked it
While there were interesting snippets, the book really rambled giving tidbits throughout about the main character but not enough to endure him to the reader (or at least not this reader). Oxford (Gentry) is an interesting town but again, this captured little except the interesting bookstore.
John Caleb Grenn
Apr 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: top-2020
What a weird wild and wonderful ride. Good grief. I think I loved it.
Jun 06, 2020 rated it it was ok
A series of well-written but depressing vignettes in search of a plot. DNF.
Oct 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this novel very much. Parts of it are very weird, and other parts certainly not family-friendly (and some are both!). But Durkee has managed to create a character that is sympathetic despite his faults. And also just plain fun to be around--and funny, too. The novel is a series of at first loosely collected chapters that eventually coalesce into something of a narrative. We're basically following a taxicab driver on his rounds in the redneckiest part of northwest Mississippi. You can i ...more
Apr 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
Thoughts coming shortly
Apr 14, 2020 rated it liked it
Amusing story with an interesting cast of characters who are down on their say the least.
Isabeau Masse
Dec 13, 2020 rated it liked it
I feel conflicted about this one. Someone described it as a “poetic fever dream that will change the way you think about America,” and that seemed pretty accurate. It’s a wild ride- kind of like being in the passenger seat of someone’s sleep-deprived, acid-fueled hallucination- yet, it gives you snapshots of the forgotten and neglected characters in society. The poor, the drunk, the drug dealing. The sick, the busting-out-of-rehab. The abused, the abusers. All glimpsed through the eyes of a cabb ...more
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
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 Lo
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GFOP Readers: The Last Taxi Driver 6 89 Apr 27, 2021 02:31PM  

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