Justin Taylor



When Justin Taylor was thirty, his father, Larry, drove to the top of the Nashville airport parking garage to take his own life. Thanks to the intervention of family members, he was not successful, but the incident forever transformed how Taylor thinks of his father, and how he thinks of himself as a son.

Moving back and forth in time from that day, "Riding with the Ghost" captures the past's power to shape, strengthen, and distort our visions of ourselves and one another. We see Larry as the middle child in a chilly Long Island family; as a beloved Little League coach who listens to kids with patience and curiosity; as an unemployed father struggling to keep his marriage together while battling long-term illness and depression. At the same time, Taylor explores how the work of confronting a family member's story forces a reckoning with your own. We see Taylor as a teacher, modeling himself after his dad's best qualities; as a caregiver, attempting to provide his father with emotional and financial support, but not always succeeding; as a new husband, with a dawning awareness of his own depressive tendencies.

With raw intimacy, "Riding with the Ghost" lays bare the joys and burdens of loving a troubled family member. It's a memoir about fathers and sons, teachers and students, faith and illness, and the pieces of our loved ones that we carry with us always.


Justin Taylor is the author of the short-story collections "Everything Here Is the Best Thing Ever" and "Flings" , and the novel "The Gospel of Anarchy" . His fiction and nonfiction have appeared in "The New Yorker", "Harper's", "The Sewanee Review", "n+1", "The New York Times Book Review" , and "Literary Hub" . He lives in Portland, Oregon and serves as Director of the School of Letters at the University of the South.