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
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In “the best work of fiction to come out of the Midwest in many years” (Chicago Tribune), David Rhodes offers 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. As a whole and independently, “each of these stories glimmers” (New Yorker).

At once intimate and funny, wise and generous, Driftless is an unforgettable story of contemporary life in rural America.

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8.5 × 5.5 × 1.06 in
20.5 oz

David Rhodes (1946-2022) is the author of Painting Beyond Walls. As a young man, he worked in fields, hospitals, and factories across Iowa.

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Milkweed Staff – 12/20/2022

All of us here at Milkweed Editions are saddened by David Rhodes' passing, and profoundly grateful to have crossed paths...