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Read online or Download Driftless (Full PDF ebook with essay, research paper)
by David Rhodes

Product Details

Milkweed Editions
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5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.30(d)



When David Rhodes' first three novels were published in the mid-seventies, he was acclaimed as "one of the best eyes in recent fiction" (John Gardner), and compared favorably to Sherwood Anderson. In 1976, a motorcycle accident left him paralyzed from the waist down, and unpublished for the subsequent three decades. With Driftless, Rhodes returns to the midwestern landscape he knows so well, offering a fascinating and entirely unsentimental portrait of a town apparently left behind by the march of time. Home to a few hundred people yet absent from state maps, Words, Wisconsin, comes richly to life by way of an extraordinary cast of characters. Among them, a middle-aged couple guards the family farm from the mendacious schemes of their milk co-operative; a lifelong paraplegic suddenly regains the use of her legs, only to find herself crippled by fury at her sister and caretaker; a woman of conflicting impulses and pastor of the local Friends church stumbles upon an enlightenment she never expected; a cantankerous retiree discovers a cougar living in his haymow, haunting him like a childhood memory; and a former drifter forever alters the ties that bind a community together. At once intimate and funny, wise and generous, Driftless is an unforgettable story of contemporary life in rural America.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Accolades for Driftless:
Outstanding Achievement Award, Wisconsin Library Association’s Literary Award Committee
California Literary Review Best Book
Booklist starred review and Editor’s Choice
University of Wisconsin-Whitewater Chancellor’s Regional Literary Award
All Iowa Reads selection, State Library of Iowa’s Center for the Book
Midwestern Independent Booksellers Association (MIBA) Honor Award
Christian Science Monitor top ten books of the year

“Now, after what had to have been years of effort beyond the usual struggle of trying to make a good novel, we get [Rhodes’s] fourth, and, I have to shout it out, finest book yet. Driftless is the best work of fiction to come out of the Midwest in many years.”
—Chicago Tribune

“A profound and enduring paean to rural America. Radiant in its prose and deep in its quiet understanding of human needs.”
—Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Driftless is a fast-moving story about small town life with characters that seem to have walked off the pages of Edgar Lee Masters’s ‘Spoon River Anthology.’”
—Wall Street Journal

“Comprised of a large number of short chapters, the novel opens with a prologue reminiscent of Steinbeck’s beautiful tribute to the Salinas Valley in the opening of East of Eden, with a little touch of Michener’s prologue to his novel Hawaii. The book moves at a stately pace as it offers deep philosophy and meditative asides about life in Words, Wisconsin, in the Driftless zone, which is to say, about life on earth.”
—NPR, “All Things Considered”

“Few books have the power to transport the way Driftless does, and it’s Rhodes’ eye for detail that we have to thank for it.”
—Time Out Chicago

“A wry and generous book. Driftless shares a rhythm with the farming community it documents, and its reflective pace is well-suited to characters who are far more comfortable with hard work than words.”
—Christian Science Monitor, Best Novels of 2008

“A symphonic paean to the stillness that can be found in certain areas of the Midwest, The writing in Driftless is beautiful and surprising throughout, [and] it’s this poetic pointillism that originally made Rhodes famous.”
—Minneapolis Star Tribune

“[Driftless] presents a series of portraits that resemble Edgar Lee Masters’s 'Spoon River Anthology' in their vividness and in the cumulative picture they create of village life. Each of these stories glimmers.”
—New Yorker

“Rhodes consciously avoids drama to deliver a portrait of a real rural America as singular, beautiful and foreign as anywhere else.”
—Philadelphia City Paper

“Rhodes shows he still knows how to keep readers riveted. As affecting as it is pleasantly overstuffed.”
—Publishers Weekly

“Encompassing and incisive, comedic and profound, Driftless is a radiant novel of community and courage.”
—Booklist, 2008 Editor’s Choice, starred review

“Though Driftless is a deeply contemporary tale—what it has to say about the way corporations treat small farmers is, for example, quite pressing—it also has the architectural complexity of the great 19th-century novels, but without the gimcrackery too often required to hold their stories together. It partakes as much of the moral universe of Magnolia as of Middlemarch. And it earns comparison to both.”
—Books & Culture

“Unique, funny, absorbing, at times frightening. A novel crafted by a real writer.”
—California Literary Review, Best Books of 2008

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