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The Ballad of Trenchmouth Taggart [Paperback]

Glenn Taylor
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
Price: £7.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Book Description

2 Sep 2010

There’s little room in this world for a moral man.

Meet Early “Trenchmouth“ Taggart, a man born and orphaned in 1903, a man nicknamed for his lifelong oral affliction. His boyhood is shaped by the Widow Dorsett, a strong mountain woman who teaches him to hunt and survive the taunts of others. In the hills of southern West Virginia, a boy grows up fast. Trenchmouth sips moonshine, handles snakes, pleasures women, and masters the rifle - a skill that lands him in the middle of the West Virginia coal wars.

A teenaged union sniper, Trenchmouth is exiled to the backwoods of Appalachia’s foothills, where he spends his years running from the past. But trouble will sniff a 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.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 284 pages
  • Publisher: Blue Door (2 Sep 2010)
  • Language: Unknown
  • ISBN-10: 0007339542
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007339549
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 62,034 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Glenn Taylor was born and raised in Huntington, West Virginia. The Marrowbone Marble Company is his second novel. His first novel, The Ballad of Trenchmouth Taggart was released to critical acclaim and was a 2008 Barnes & Noble Discover pick, and a finalist for the 2008 National Book Critics Circle Award. Taylor teaches English at Harper College, in suburban Chicago, where he lives with his wife and three sons.

Product Description


"[a] galloping, defiant epic…a virtuoso performance…vigorous and sincere, located squarely in the tradition of Twain, Faulkner and McCullers." THE GUARDIAN

"In Early "Trenchmouth" Taggart…Taylor has created a marvellous, jump-off-the-page character…a defiantly incredible creation…The writing is limber, and the real life it bundles up into its freakish, charismatic character make this a genuine success that admirers of John Irving - and others too - will surely enjoy." THE INDEPENDENT

"[A] mesmerisingly fluid narrative…Smart, brash, but totally convincing, this has the makings of a page-turning literary sensation." WATERSTONE'S BOOKS QUARTERLY

"A confident, funny and often surprising read." METRO

"Wildly inventive." THE TIMES

“This is indeed a book that succeeds in its early pages to completely capture the reader.” LE MONDE

“It is an exceptional novel with a rare picaresque power…Taylor is a master.” LE FIGARO

"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. . .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." HOUSTON CHRONICLE

"An energetic romp." DAZED AND CONFUSED

"Think of this novel as an American version of 'One Hundred Years of Solitude.'" BOB HOOVER, PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE

Book Description

Is there room in this world for a moral man?

--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A ballad with a difference 27 July 2010
By Whatchamacallit TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This novel is divided into three sections as we read the tale of Trenchmouth Taggart. It's the early part of the story which I enjoyed best as it had me rapidly reading on, but as the story develops I felt that the style changed and I didn't enjoy it as much even though it was still a good read.
The book cover quotes similarities to John Irving and I have to say that does ring true for the first half of the book at least, with some small similarities to Irving's most recent novel Last Night in Twisted River, but only a little as Trenchmouth doesn't go nearly as deep with either characterisation or story development. For anyone who enjoys John Irving (or just a good story) then it would certainly be worth trying this book.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Brilliant 31 Jan 2010
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Every now and then a book comes along that blows you out of the water, and this is one of those. Hearing that it was like John Irving, an author whose books I love I thought I would give this a try, and I wasn't disappointed. We are led through an odyssey that is the life of 'Trenchmouth' Taggart, from where his mother threw him in the river at a couple of months old, through his adoption by Widow Dorsett and onto the present day at a 108 years of age.

And what a life 'Trenchmouth' has lived. Growing up in southern West Virginia he is a real hillbilly, and is taught hunting and tracking at an early age by the Widow, who also makes moonshine. Finding out that he can make money in his teens by servicing women with his tongue and joining a 'holy-roller' church with talking in tongues and snake handling our hero has seen most things. When the coal wars hit Virginia in the 1920's 'Trenchmouth' is there shooting at the company hired thugs. Taking part in a bloodbath eventually leads to someone else being convicted of the deaths that he caused and he is forced into exile, becoming a wildman in the Appalachians.

Reappearing after twenty four years 'Trecnchmouth' changes his name and becomes a musician and then a journalist, playing with Chuck Berry, getting a sandwich from Hank Williams, and interviewing JFK, as well as winning a Pulitzer. But the past has a way of catching up with you and our hero has to disappear again, eventually reappearing again under another name.

This book is hard to put down and is divided into books. The prologue and epilogue are in the present. The first book is 1903-1921, then we come back on to the second book, which is 1946-1961. The third and last book is 1989-1993 where we find how much the area has changed over the years.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb Story 28 Oct 2011
M Glenn Taylor is more than a great story teller, he is a spinner of yarns and that's what makes this book such a great read. Yes, it is the ballad of a man's long, adventurous life, spanning more than a 100 years, but it's more than that, it's an incredible romp through the backwoods of West Virginia and the changing face of 20th century America.

It entwines fiction with fact, weaving the story of Trenchmouth's life with historical sequences to create a character who experiences many events that shaped the USA.

The book is peopled with endearing and interesting fictional characters, whilst Trenchmouth's meetings with Chuck Berry, Hank Williams and JFK add to the entertainment.

In Trenchmouth Taggart, Taylor has created a truly memorable character. A loveable rogue, an adventurer, sometimes charismatic, sometimes eccentric, always intriguing.

Great story telling, a real page-turner, highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A breath of fresh air 25 Jun 2011
What a marvellous novel! A breath of fresh air from hugely talented writer. Trenchmouth is a truly memorable character in a book I couldn't put down. A tour-de-force.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By V. L. Harding VINE VOICE
Glenn Taylor, a new kid on the block, but on the evidence of this book he will be around for a long time. Taggart's story from infancy to a grand age of 108 is slightly reminiscent of Thomas Berger's "Little Big Man" regarding the longevity of the main character.
The year is 1903 when baby Taggart is rescued from the river by Widow Dorsett and brought up with her adopted daughter in a shack located in an isolated area of the mountains of West Virginia. Widow Dorsett was an independent woman, she hunted game with her rifle, cured ailments, and grew vegatables. She also ran a moonshine still, supplying liquor to a middle man who sold on to the local community, mainly farmers and miners. Taggart has several varied careers during his life time, his early years growing up in a mining environment during the struggle to establish a Union forms the basis of his story. As a young man of 23 he is involved in the gunfight at the Matewan railyards between the Baldwin-Felts strike enforcers acting as deputies and evicting miners and their families from their homes and the local sheriff defending the miners. A powerful section of the book, on a par with John Sayles celebrated film "Matewan" in its depiction of the harsh and violent times when John L Lewis was forming the Union and battling the forces of the coal owners backed by corrupt sections of local government. Afterwards to avoid imprisonment Taggart lives as a hermit in the mountains for 25 years living off the land. When he returns he takes up with a group playing mountain music and blues in gigs all over the state. Later he joins a small town newspaper writing articles on local recipes and topics and making a name for himself with his offbeat views.
The author's love of mountain music, the mountains of West Virginia and the people who live there pervades the books pages and he has used Trenchmouth Taggart to express it. I commend it
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Struggled to keep picking it up
Fanciful, in fact unbelievable on every level, like Forrest Gump from an earlier time.
Published 18 days ago by Guildenboy
4.0 out of 5 stars an interesting view of a world unknown
This has the same feel to it as the original True Grit ( or the recent film) as it intertwined the reality and madness that the open space of America can create - well worth a look
Published 1 month ago by GRANT
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 1 month ago by Chris McKeefry
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
good read
Published 2 months ago by patrick oholleran
3.0 out of 5 stars Started well but tailed off for me.
A tale that was mixed in with real events got me interested. The character Trenchmouth I couldn't really empathise much with so as the story carried on I tended to lose a bit of... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Tony Bendall
4.0 out of 5 stars kaleidoscope character
journey through the life of TT, brushing up against landmarks in recent American social history and experiencing a spectrum of emotions and mental jumping-jacks. An intense read.
Published 4 months ago by mr pussycat
5.0 out of 5 stars Skillfull
Glenn Taylor is a pure talent. I couldn't put this book down. Hurry up and write another please !!! Quickly !!!
Published 5 months ago by JIMBO
5.0 out of 5 stars An enchanting tall story, beautifully told....
So glad I happened upon this book. Sucked me in from the opening page and maintained its charm right through to the closing sentence. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Dave Norris
4.0 out of 5 stars definitely worth a sherry glassful of anyone's time.
I read this straight after Larry McMurtry's ' Lonesome Dove' which is a hard act to follow and at a third of the number of pages, 'Trenchmouth' was over before my bedtime sherry... Read more
Published 7 months ago by FrankMcHugh
4.0 out of 5 stars A very enjoyable read
A good page turner, a little far-fetched but that's fiction for you. I enjoyed the book and would look for more from this author in the future.
Published 7 months ago by Amazon Customer
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