Synopses & Reviews
From a masterful storyteller, comes a Midwestern epic that illuminates the majestic in the commonplace.
When David Rhodes burst onto the American literary scene in the 1970s, he was hailed as a brilliant visionary” (John Gardner), and compared to Sherwood Anderson and Marilynne Robinson. In Driftless, his most accomplished work yet” (Joseph Kanon), Rhodes brought Words, WI, to life in a way that resonated with readers across the country. Now with Jewelweed, this beloved author returns to the same out-of-the-way hamlet and introduces a cast of characters who all find themselves charged with overcoming the burdens left by the past, sometimes with the help of peach preserves or pie.
After serving time for a dubious conviction, Blake Bookchester is paroled and returns home. The story of Blakes hometown is one of challenge, change, and redemption, of outsiders and of limitations, and simultaneously one of supernatural happenings and of great love. Each of Rhodess charactersflawed, deeply human, and ultimately universalapproach the future with a combination of hope and trepidation, increasingly mindful of the importance of community to their individual lives. Rich with a sense of empathy and wonder, Jewelweed offers a vision in which the ordinary becomes mythical.
"[A] rhapsodic, many-faceted novel of profound dilemmas, survival, and gratitude.... Rhodes portrays his smart, searching, kind characters with extraordinary dimension as each wrestles with what it means to be good and do good." Booklist
Jewelweed is a novel of forgiveness, a generous ode to the spirits indefatigable longing for love.” Minneapolis Star Tribune
"Brave and inspiring.... Rhodes also has important things to say about humble, hardworking Americans at odds with contemporary American culture, which he finds predatory, corporate, and soulless. An impressive and emotionally gratifying novel; highly recommended for fans of literary fiction." Library Journal
"Masterful storytelling.... The characters in Driftless and Jewelweed are rendered with such care and precision that this little known region of the Midwest becomes dazzlingly alive. At the same time, Rhodes' decision to publish again marks a welcome return of a master storyteller of real people who live in our small towns." Chicago Tribune Printers Row Journal
"A benevolent sort of rural American magical realism.... profound." Publishers Weekly
I liked Driftless, but his emotionally rich new novel, Jewelweed, a sequel of sorts, is even better. The novel emits frequent solar flares of surprise and wonder.” Cleveland Plain Dealer
"A master of nuance, Rhodes picks up on those 'inaudible rhythms' that drive human actions: fear, regret, friendship, yearning, and a desire for forgiveness." Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
[A] deeply moving meditation on the resonance of each individual life on a small Wisconsin town.” Wisconsin State Journal
Jewelweed is another book that all Iowa should read." Iowa Press-Citizen
A damn fine novelone of the best kindswhere ordinary people living ordinary lives are drawn by the deft and lyrical touch of the author in such an achingly rich way, one quietly marvels.” Sheryl Cotleur, Copperfields Books
Rhodes describes the natural world and his characters inner lives with equal passion, creating an ensemble as natural to its landscape as the trees. Jewelweed is a remarkable piece of storytelling, soul-felt and deeply moving.” Mark LaFramboise, Politics and Prose Bookstore
David Rhodes takes seemingly mundane events, and makes them magic. The everyday is made spectacular through his telling.” Jack Hannert, Brilliant Books
From philosophical prison inmates to childhood-haunted truckers, Rhodess mélange of characters feels so real, youd swear you lived among them.” Emily Crowe, The Odyssey Bookshop
With Jewelweed, David Rhodes has once more produced a moving, deeply thoughtful novel, of poor people doing difficult things, often against their best interests. He is the same writer, maybe better, as the author of Driftless.” Paul Ingram, Prairie Lights Books
About the Author
grew up near Des Moines where he attended a Quaker School. He dropped out of Beloit College in the 1960s and eventually graduated from Marlboro College in Vermont. After receiving an M.F.A. in writing from the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop in 1971, he published three novels in rapid succession to acclaim: The Last Fair Deal Going Down
(Atlantic/Little, Brown, 1972), The Easter House
(Harper and Row, 1974), and Rock Island Line
(Harper and Row, 1975). A motorcycle accident in 1976 left him paralyzed from the chest down. He continued writing, but did not publish again until 2008 when his novel, Driftless
, was published. It received a Milkweed National Fiction prize, was read on Wisconsin Public Radio, and was chosen as an All Iowa Reads selection. Milkweed has reissued all of his previous books. He currently lives with his wife, Edna, in Wisconsin.