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More Small-Town Tales

Wisconsin’s David Rhodes returns with a new novel

Jun. 5, 2013
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David Rhodes, who brought readers the compassionate small-town tale Driftless in 2008, returns with an emotionally rich new novel set in the same fictional locale of Words, Wis. more than 10 years after Driftless concludes. With a mostly new cast of characters, Jewelweed introduces readers to a series of interconnected neighbors whose lives, though seemingly ordinary, echo with profound meaning and complexity. This poetic tale centers around Blake Bookchester, a newly released jailbird who is trying to adjust to life on the outside. In his attempt to connect to those around him, Blake encounters an extraordinary community of individuals from preacher, to outcast boys, to the very elderly, all searching for a sense of belonging and forgiveness. These characters and their mix of kindness and wonder paint a unique and detailed portrait of small-town life where everyone is ripe for redemption. Written with arresting language and filled with a powerful sense of empathy and reverence, Jewelweed offers a glimpse into a world where the mundane is truly beautiful.

Rhodes is a 1971 graduate of the prestigious Iowa Writers’ Workshop who went on to publish three acclaimed novels in the 1970s before a motorcycle accident left him paralyzed from the waist down. In 2008, Rhodes returned to the literary scene with the award-winning novel Driftless, which was honored as the Milkweed National Fiction Prize Winner. Rhodes currently lives in Wonewoc, Wis., with his wife. He will speak at Boswell Book Co. at 7 p.m. on Thursday, June 6.


Book Happening

Breakfast with the Authors

9-11:30 a.m., June 8

Radisson Hotel

7030 N. Port Washington Road

The Best of Milwaukee Writers Circle 2013 Anthology is a collection of fiction, non-fiction and poetry culled from the local writers group’s members. “We honor diversity,” says founder Heddy Keith, who has kept the Circle spinning with the weekly cable access program “Meet the Author” along with organizing the launch of the group’s first anthology.


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