Driftless by David Rhodes
I just finished an incredible novel by David Rhodes. You can read about him on his publihsher's website. He's an interesting story and just made for booktalks and I was intrigued by what I heard so I had two good reasons to give his new novel a shot. It's a poetic, character-driven novel that in the wrong hands could come off as pretentious and too self consciously literary. You know, the kind of English major novel that Garrison Keillor parodies occasionally on Prairie Home Companion. Instead, "Driftless" is full of varsity level writing with characters that could be your neighbors. I think I'll give you a taste below. It's taken from a funeral scene at the end of the book and I have omitted the name of the character that is being eulogized in case anyone that reads this decides to read this lovely novel:
"'So we're united today not in belief but in grief--staring into the past, Where _____ died alone. But though the world has cast him out, we never will. So long as we refuse to be separated from the love of God, which holds us all together, we will never lose _____. We will never let him die. How we feel about him can never be taken from us. Nothing,' she said, turning and looking straight at her uncle and smiling, 'nothing can ever, against our will separate us from the love of God, and we will do the best we can.'
Pulling on the pew in front of him, Rusty stood up. He looked directly at Winnie and said, 'amen,' in a manner that suggested he had never spoken the word before and was unlikely ever to speak it again, and sat down."