11 January 2011

2011 Books: Driftless by David Rhodes

Every once in a while, you take a chance on a book without having a single solitary reason for doing so.  No one recommended it, no one mentioned it, you've never heard of it, but something about it grabs you.  That's rare for me - I usually have a list of recommendations far longer than I have time to even contemplate.  But last week I took a chance, and was rewarded with an even less common experience:  a literary surprise. 

Driftless is David Rhodes' first novel in 30 years.  He came back strong, if you ask me.  This was an incredible novel from start to finish.  Rhodes creates characters so accurate, so pitch-perfect you'd swear he's writing a biography of Words, Wisconsin and not fiction.  Any resident of any small upper Midwest town will recognize and appreciate the honest portrayal of small town living Rhodes composes.  Driftless is neither petty nor apologetic:  it is populated with characters who feel as solid as the dirt, trees and hills for which the novel is named. 

It's not just the characters that make this novel wonderful, however - the story is also worthy of praise, from the laugh-out-loud moments (of which there are several) to the heart-stoppers (only one or two, but they are whoppers). 

I won't say more so as to preserve the story for you to enjoy.  Driftless is the finest novel I've read since The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, and I hope to see it on your reading list soon, friends and neighbors. 

Grace & peace,

1 comment:

  1. Have enjoyed some of your other books... will definitely try and find this one. Thanks for sharing