Tuckahoe Slidebottle
Thistledown Press / 2 September 2009

Tuckahoe Slidebottle by Neil McKinnon Published by Thistledown Press Review by Shelley A. Leedahl $18.95 ISBN 978-1-897235-07-02 “The town itself is homeless. It lies on the prairie like a drunk on a sidewalk.” The town is Tuckahoe, a fictional SK community invented by gifted writer Neil McKinnon, and on the strength of these first two sentences, I knew I was going to enjoy his short fiction collection Tuckahoe Slidebottle. McKinnon renders a cast of characters simultaneously outrageous and credible; if Tuckahoe were on a map, readers would be flocking there. I can’t help thinking that the writer wore a smile while penning most of these twenty stories. First, let’s look at the town itself. Tuckahoe’s a place where “Dried potholes slam your teeth as you drive.” There’s the inevitable coffee row, called “The Jury” (“five or six tobacco chewers and sunflower-seed-spitters who met every day to pass judgement on the private lives of others”). And there are wild characters like one-eyed Old Alex, who took off his black eye patch Saturdays and “used a silver dollar to cover the hole where his left eye was supposed to be,” because he believed in dressing up on Saturday nights. Reverend Davies is…