Paris is the setting for a new dark comedy novel

By LINDA LANE linda@prairiepress.net
Posted 9/19/22

Author Phillip Hurst, a native of Windsor in Shelby County has used a local setting for his first novel, “Regent’s of Paris.”

“The Paris, Illinois, of …

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Paris is the setting for a new dark comedy novel

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Author Phillip Hurst, a native of Windsor in Shelby County has used a local setting for his first novel, “Regent’s of Paris.”

“The Paris, Illinois, of ‘Regent’s of Paris’ is actually a fictionalized combination of several towns in Central Illinois that I am familiar with, such as Mattoon, Charleston, Shelbyville, Sullivan and even Windsor, where I grew up,” said Hurst. “My hope was to represent the region broadly, its landscape, mood and people. Paris seemed to fit the bill.”

The novel is published under the Regal House Publishing imprint and was released Aug. 16.

According to pre-release publicity, the novel is a dark comedy about a small town car dealership that is going down the tubes on the eve of the General Motors bankruptcy of 2009. The stories of various people involved with the dealership intertwine during the week prior to a Memorial Day sale that may or may not save their jobs.

“It’s a book about working class people, their jobs and money stress put on people’s personal lives, and about what it really takes to get by in modern day America,” said Hurst.

His Illinois roots go deep. Besides growing up in Windsor, Hurst played basketball for and attended Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington. His writing career started after college and took him to the West Coast where he lived in Portland, Seattle, San Diego and Hawaii. After moving back to the mainland, he has made his home in New Mexico and Wyoming.

Hurst’s first book, “Whiskey Boys,” was published in 2021 and won the Monadnock Essay Collection Prize. A second nonfiction book, “The Land of Ale and Gloom: Discovering the Pacific Northwest” was published in March 2022.

Currently, Hurst is a visiting assistant professor of creative writing at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces. He is working on a second novel provisionally titled “El Morro,” which concerns a pair of teenage runaways in the American West.