Monday, August 25, 2008

Pg. 69: M. Glenn Taylor's "The Ballad of Trenchmouth Taggart"

The current feature at the Page 69 Test: M. Glenn Taylor's The Ballad of Trenchmouth Taggart.

About the book, from the official website:
Meet Trenchmouth Taggart, a man born and orphaned in 1903, a man nick-named for his lifelong oral affliction. In the West Virginia coal mine wars, a boy hardens quick when he picks up a gun. Exile is his trophy, and he spends his adult years on the run. He changes his name and plays a mean mouth harp, and he keeps on running from his past, all the way to Chicago. But trouble will sniff even an old man down, and an outlaw will eventually run home. Here, Trenchmouth Taggart's story, like the best ballads, etches its mark deep upon the memory.
Among the praise fo rthe novel:
"Taylor's prose is so fluid and seemingly effortless that The Ballad of Trenchmouth Taggart bridges the usually irreconcilable gap between popular fiction and literary fiction. It's that rare creature - a literary page-turner - and it will please both the casual reader and the college professor... The Ballad of Trenchmouth Taggart is a stunning, fully realized, unique and ambitious book that proves there's still passion, fire and brilliance in the American novel."
--Eric Miles Williamson, The Houston Chronicle

"Not many young writers are willing to allow a cottonmouth, slow and methodically, to climb up his arm and shoulder and neck and, opening his mouth, let its killer little head bump around inside for a look--even in their fiction. Full of wonder and belief, Glenn Taylor has fearless ambition and dangerous talent. He is, like this, his first book, out to make some big claims on your attention."
--Dagoberto Gilb, author of Woodcuts of Women and The Flowers

"Such writing as we find in The Ballad of Trenchmouth Taggart is rare these days. So much of what we normally get--about rural life--is slick, shallow, and overtly sentimental. Glenn Taylor has cut to the bone and written an elegant story that tells a truth about his people and place, a kind of truth occasionally found--when we're lucky--in a novel. It's a testament to Taylor's craft as a writer that this story is so detailed, present, and personal, yet covers so much time--a hundred years or so. It's as if we were there, marveling at something in danger of being lost."
--Clyde Edgerton, author of Walking Across Egypt and The Bible Salesman

"Part Rip Van Winkle, part Professor Seagull, part O Brother, Where Art Thou?, part Matewan, The Ballad of Trenchmouth Taggart is picaresque, legendary, epic, and outrageous, and in spite of all that, I can't help but wonder if maybe it isn't also more than just a little bit true. And with a narrative voice so confident, so compelling, so arresting and pure, the conclusion I came to is that Glenn Taylor must have channeled the whole damn thing."
--Sara Pritchard, author of Crackpots and Lately

"I was hooked immediately by the narrative voice, which I would describe as utterly kickass, take-no- prisoners in tone. The combination of hyperbole & hilarity throughout is what I would call High Hillbilly in the purest form."
--Chuck Kinder, author of Honeymooners and Last Mountain Dancer
Read an excerpt from The Ballad of Trenchmouth Taggart, and learn more about the book and author at the official website.

M. Glenn Taylor's stories have been published in such literary journals as The Chattahoochee Review, Mid-American Review, Meridian, and Gulf Coast. He teaches English and fiction writing at Harper College in suburban Chicago.

The Ballad of Trenchmouth Taggart is a selection in the Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers series for Fall 2008.

The Page 69 Test: The Ballad of Trenchmouth Taggart.

--Marshal Zeringue