Nominated by:

Wojewódzka Biblioteka Publiczna im. Marszałka Józefa Piłsudskiego w Łodzi, Poland

Publisher of nominated edition:

No Exit Press, UK

Last Bus to Coffeeville

J. Paul Henderson    

2016 Longlist

Nancy Skidmore has Alzheimer’s and her oldest friend Eugene Chaney III once more a purpose in life – to end hers.

When the moment for Gene to take Nancy to her desired death in Coffeeville arrives, she is unexpectedly admitted to the secure unit of a nursing home and he has to call upon his two remaining friends to help break her out: one his godson, a disgraced weatherman in the throes of a midlife crisis, and the other an ex-army marksman officially dead for forty years.

On a tour bus once stolen from Paul McCartney, and joined by a young orphan boy searching for lost family, the band of misfits career towards Mississippi through a landscape of war, euthanasia, communism, religion and racism, and along the way discover the true meaning of love, family and – most important of all – friendship.

Charming, uplifting and profoundly moving, Last Bus to Coffeeville is a chronicle of lives that have jumped the tracks; a tale of endings and new beginnings; a funny story about sad things.

(from publisher)

About the Author

Paul Henderson was born and grew up in Bradford, West Yorkshire, gained a Master’s degree in American Studies and travelled to Afghanistan. He worked in a foundry, as a bus conductor, trained as an accountant and then, when the opportunity to return to academia arose, left for Mississippi, returning four years later with a doctorate in 20thC US History and more knowledge of Darlington Hoopes than was arguably necessary.

Librarian’s Comments

The strength of Henderson’s novel is the method of presentation – a bitter-sweet taste makes the reader enjoy a good sense of humour and feel the pain at the same time. A marvellous narrator leads us into the plot lightly, has the skill of expression, sense of humour and just like a poet creates impressions with words. The truth in the novel is that human life is full of surprises, joy and happiness as well as pain, dreams and obstacles, friendship and loneliness. The novel tells us that human beings – if they don’t give up – can achieve the impossible. Especially with the help of friends.

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