The Easter House
From the celebrated author of Driftless comes a masterful novel in which “no border exists between everyday life and the super-real” (New York Times).
The Easter house looms over the residents of Ontarion, Iowa. Ansel Easter—a fiery minister who rescued a Caliban-like creature from a carnival sideshow—paved a difficult path for his sons, C and Sam, who left home after their father’s violent death. But the brothers return when they are unable to shake Ansel’s burdensome legacy from afar. C and his wife first start a junkyard on the expansive lawn of the Easter house and barter used appliances, cars, and random items for necessities. Eventually, however, C and Sam create a more lucrative business: The Associate, a group of men who perform services for a fee. When a rash of deaths occur and the townspeople begin to suspect The Associate, it seems the sins of the father have returned to the sons.
Shocking and suspenseful, The Easter House is an engrossing story of family redemption and survival. Originally published in 1974, David Rhodes’s second novel captures the oppressive somnolence of a small community while intertwining elements of the American gothic tradition, illuminating the strangeness that lurks beneath the surface.
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Praise and Prizes
“Remarkable . . . The Easter House offers the tale of another tormented Midwestern clan, but in its pages no border exists between everyday life and the super-real. . . . I wouldn’t trade a word of The Easter House for anything.”
“David Rhodes proves that there is still vigorous life in the dark Gothic roots of the great American novels.”
“Painstakingly rendered . . . It is precisely David Rhodes’s ultra-real hand painting a tilted, mercurial world that make this novel a success.”
“This is an almost impossible book to put down, with its forceful narrative and striking characters. David Rhodes is a brilliant writer and The Easter House is a moving literary experience.”
“David Rhodes’s writing is smooth and wry, combining Richard Russo’s genius for the details of small-town thinking and Flannery O’Connor’s flair for shading things toward the weird side of normal. If there was any justice in the literary world, its shocking end alone would make it an American classic. If you liked Driftless, do yourself a favor and read The Easter House.”
“A singular, spectral novel on its own hardwon terms . . . David Rhodes is a natural writer, strong enough to carry his reader along throughout this gaunt American Primitive almost halfway between Andrew Wyeth and Charles Addams.”