The Last Fair Deal Going Down

The Last Fair Deal Going Down

The Last Fair Deal Going Down

“One of the most ambitious first novels to come along in quite a spell.” —SATURDAY REVIEW
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“This is my book. I must write it in order to survive.”

Survival has been difficult for Reuben Sledge’s family since his father first moved to Des Moines. Scorned and feared by their neighbors, they persist on the outskirts, near the edge of the City—“not a city like Des Moines itself, but an inner City of Des Moines . . . or a lower City.” However one describes this surreal place, no one who enters has ever returned.

As his family slowly disappears, Reuben attempts to write “a real story of real people, my family, and a real place, Des Moines.” But when the woman Reuben loves ventures into the City, he sets off on a harrowing journey with an impossible goal: to find her and return. Once in the City, he discovers a ghastly assemblage of inhabitants who have crafted a new life for themselves, and Reuben’s resolve to return to the world he once loved is threatened.

Both a lament for a disappearing generation and one family’s wrenching tale of survival, this extraordinary novel­­—the debut of David Rhodes, written with his “painterly eye for minutiae and folklorist’s way with an anecdote” (New York Times)—is a stunning achievement.

brothers, cities, crime, dark, depression, des moines, families, family, fiction, gothic, iowa, literary, loss, mental illness, Midwestern, murder, novels, psychological, siblings, sisters, survival, trauma, urban
Publish Date: 
5.5 × 8.5 × 0.69 in
13.6 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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Blog Post

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...