Book Trailer Thursday: The Name of the Nearest River

The publishers of  The Name of the Nearest River knew they had something in Alex Taylor. He doesn’t look like your typical 29-year-old author,  he doesn’t dress like one, and certainly doesn’t sound like one. His volume of short stories doesn’t lend itself to the typical book trailer treatment; the novelty and authenticity of someone like Taylor, however, suggests its own hybrid approach.

In this video, Taylor, a fifth-generation resident of Rosine, Kentucky (population: 41), is given four whole minutes to stretch out, and while that’s way too long for your usual video enticement, it feels just right here–in fact, you get the sense that everything in Rosine moves at such a pace. Imposing anything else would feel disingenuous.

The biblical lilt of Taylor’s musings–he can’t seem to go more than few sentences without talking about sin or damnation–are visualized with his community’s crumbling trailer homes, boarded-up stores, and forgotten cemeteries.  Along the way, he reads passages from two stories and answers questions about why anyone would stay in Rosine. “Because they’re loyal,” he replies.  “Because to leave would be a sin in some ways.”

Verdict: Refreshing. This video convinces you that it could only have been made in Rosine; bringing Taylor to the big city would have surely vaporized his soul.

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About the Author:

Dan Kraus, senior editor at Booklist is the producer and director of numerous feature films, most notably the documentary Work Series, and the author of several YA novels, including Rotters and Scowler, both of which won the Odyssey Award.

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