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The Haunted Hillbillyby Derek McCormack
Synopses & Reviews
A new title in Soft Skull's ShortLit series, The Haunted Hillbilly reads like both a vintage 1950s issue of Tales from the Crypt and a 21st-century re-imagining of Michael Ondaatje's The Collected Works of Billy the Kid. This historical first-person narrative is told by Nudie, "The Rodeo Tailor" (perhaps most famous for dressing Elvis Presley), a gay couturier who, in Derek McCormack's world, also happens to be a vampire. As the story evolves with its magical poetic cadence and minimalist style, Nudie makes and then breaks the career of Hank, a country-and-western singer at the Grand Ole Opry. Inspired by the real-life observations of country music promoter Oscar Davis, who saw it all and told it all in a series of tapes suppressed by the Country Music Foundation, The Haunted Hillbilly conjures the seamy queer underbelly beneath country music's sparkling, sequined surface.
"[C]reepier than a witch's neck-flab, The Haunted Hillbilly pushes the boundaries of fiction in a way that, frankly, knocked me a bit off my feet." Globe & Mail
"Derek McCormack's fiction is one of the world's most divine, precious, and deliriously beautiful things. The Haunted Hillbilly is McCormack with all of his special powers blazing. Such refinement, innocence, wit, and complex feeling in one exquisite and crazily entertaining package — what an amazing gift." Dennis Cooper
"[A] great work of genius....McCormack is to world literature as Cormac McCarthy is to US literature, except more inventive and with a stronger narrative voice one can't get out of one's head." Kevin Killian
The Haunted Hillbilly is an historical first-person narrative, told by Nudie "The Rodeo Tailor" (perhaps most famous for dressing Elvis Presley) a gay couturier who, in Derek McCormacks spellbinding world, also happens to be a vampire. As the story evolves with its magical poetic cadence, Nudie, in grand Svengali-style, makes, then breaks, the career of Hank, a country-and-western singer at the Grand Ole Opry. A blend of fact and fancy, The Haunted Hillbilly conjures the seamy gay underside hidden beneath country musics sparkly, sequinned surface.
This historic first-person narrative is told by Nudie, "The Rodeo Tailor" (perhaps most famous for dressing Elvis Presley), a gay couturier who, in Derek McCormack's world, also happens to be a vampire.
About the Author
Derek McCormack is the author of the short story collections Dark Rides and Wish Book (Gutter Press 2000 and 2002; forthcoming in a single volume from Akashic Books, June 2004). He has been nominated for the City of Toronto Book Award and for a National Magazine Award. His non-fiction has appeared in various magazines and newspapers, including Nest, Saturday Night, the Globe and Mail, and the National Post. He was born in Peterborough, Ontario; he lives in Toronto.
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