In Driftless, “the best work of fiction to come out of the Midwest in many years” (Chicago Tribune), David Rhodes made Words, Wisconsin, resonate with readers across the country. In Jewelweed this beloved author returns to the same out-of-the-way community and introduces a cast of characters who must overcome the burdens inherited from the past.
After serving time for a dubious conviction, Blake Bookchester is paroled. As Blake attempts to adjust to life outside prison, he reconnects with Danielle Workhouse, a single mother whose son, Ivan, explores the woods with his precocious friend August. While Danielle goes to work for Buck and Amy Roebuck in their mansion, Ivan and August befriend Lester Mortal, a recluse who lives in a melon field; a wild boy; and a bat, Milton. These characters—each flawed, deeply human, and ultimately universal—approach the future with a combination of hope and trepidation.
Jewelweed offers a vision in which the ordinary becomes mythical, the seemingly mundane transformed into revelatory beauty.
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Praise and Prizes
“A welcome return of a master storyteller of real people who live in our small towns . . . The characters are rendered with such care and precision that this little known region of the Midwest becomes dazzlingly alive.”
“Jewelweed is a novel of forgiveness, a generous ode to the spirit’s indefatigable longing for love.”
“Jewelweed emits frequent solar flares of surprise and wonder. . . . As delectable a contemporary novel as I’ve devoured in a long time. I wept—several times.”
“A rhapsodic, many-faceted novel of profound dilemmas, survival, and gratitude . . . David Rhodes portrays his smart, searching, kind characters with extraordinary dimension as each wrestles with what it means to be good and do good.”
“A master of nuance, David Rhodes picks up on those ‘inaudible rhythms’ that drive human actions: fear, regret, friendship, yearning, and a desire for forgiveness.”
“A benevolent sort of rural American magical realism . . . Profound.”