In a bawdy narrative evocative of the classic yet quirky tales of John Irving and Larry McMurtry, Taylor's debut novel takes readers into the hillbilly world of the Appalachian Mountains, replete with guns, moonshine, and snake handlers. Avowedly the oldest living man in West Virginia, Trenchmouth Taggart lives in the untamed wilderness -- Deliverance country -- his lips voluntarily sewn shut with fishing line. But that won't stop him from the story he has to tell.
It began a century ago, when his unstable mother tossed him into a frigid river. Downstream, the indomitable Trenchmouth bobbed to the surface with an infected mouth that would haunt him all his years and a tenacious hold on life. The Widow Dorsett smuggles him into her mountain shack, and despite their abject poverty and the mockery of his schoolmates, Trenchmouth learns the tools of self-reliance and dignity. Among the notable skills he develops, he becomes a crack shot with a rifle, a talent he employs in a local war against the coal mining companies.
In the wake of a furious gun battle, Trenchmouth goes into hiding, making only an occasional foray into civilization to quench his thirst for liquor. But when he stumbles upon some new neighbors who share his love for music, Trenchmouth's life heads in a whole new direction.
(Fall 2008 Selection)