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Former English teacher and experienced taxi driver, American writer Lee Durkee paints a gripping, funny and uncompromising portrait of America in his second novel, < strong> Mississippi Driver . Drawing inspiration from his own experience, he invites the reader to accompany him in Lou Bishoff's crazy outfit, behind the wheel of his old Lincoln.
Lou Bishoff, the novel's main character, is a former English teacher who failed to convey his passion for Shakespeare to his students. For a living, he became a taxi driver in Gentry, Mississippi. He spends his days (and nights) behind the wheel of his car, transporting each other, listening to their stories or comments.
From racist students throwing up in his backseat, to ex-convicts making him run suspicious errands, to bizarre retirees, a witch and UFOs, we see a lot of things in his company. & Nbsp;
Lee Durkee has put the package in this novel which makes us discover a corner of deep America. And the amazing thing is that most of the anecdotes in the novel are taken from reality.
He took notes
In an interview, the writer explains that the novel is inspired by his work as a taxi driver in Oxford, Mississippi, the people he has met, his work. “The majority of the book is a piece of writing that was not fiction. There are so many weird things that happened when I started working as a taxi driver – it was my first job and I was working days. When I got home, I wrote down everything that had happened to me. & Nbsp; “
A year later, he quit this day job to work the night shift. “So I had time to write during the day. These are sort of memories of all that amazing happened to me. & Nbsp; “
He used these notes to write the novel. “I gave myself more freedom and it's more fun that way because there is no restriction. Everything in the novel is based on real things – even the strangest things. I changed people's names, of course. But I relate real incidents. & Nbsp; “
A witch and a UFO
The writer recounts a particularly funny episode involving Lou's encounter with Mayfern, a “witch”. “& Nbsp; It happened exactly like that; it's inspired by reality & nbsp; “, he assures us. The same goes for an incident involving a poor possum … and the appearance of a UFO.
“I went to pick up a friend from the airport. We were driving home and it happened. There were three of us in the car and we all witnessed the presence of the UFO for a good fifteen minutes. & Nbsp; “& nbsp;
Lee Durkee portrays funny scenes, but also the shocking reaction -lity of racism and segregation, which persists in the southern United States. “It was shocking to me too. I was naive. I was working nights as a taxi driver when Donald Trump was elected president. During this time, all of the racism that had been silent for decades sort of came out of the closet. I was in shock. & Nbsp; “
- Lee Durkee lives in Oxford, Mississippi. & Nbsp;
- He lived in Vermont for a long time, but returned to Mississippi about ten years ago. & nbsp;
- He worked as an English teacher and taxi driver .
- He has published stories and short stories in several publications.
- Mississippi Driver is his second novel .