Jewelweed: A Novel

Front Cover
Milkweed Editions, 2013 - Fiction - 449 pages
8 Reviews
The beloved author of Driftless delves into the heart of rural America in this unforgettable portrait of community.

When David Rhodes burst onto the American literary scene in the '70s, he was hailed as “a brilliant visionary” (John Gardner). In Driftless, his “most accomplished work yet” (Joseph Kanon), Rhodes made Words, Wisconsin, resonate with readers across the country. Now with Jewelweed this beloved author returns to the same out-of-the-way community and introduces a cast of characters who must overcome the burdens left by the past. After serving time for a dubious conviction, Blake Bookchester is paroled. As Blake attempts to adjust, he reconnects with Danielle Workhouse, a single mother whose son, Ivan, explores the woods with his precocious friend, August. While Danielle goes to work for Buck and Amy Roebuck in their mansion, Ivan and August befriend Lester Mortal, a recluse who lives in a melon field; a wild boy; and a bat, Milton. These characters — each flawed, deeply human, and ultimately universal — approach the future with a combination of hope and trepidation. Jewelweed offers a vision in which the ordinary becomes mythical, the seemingly mundane transformed into revelatory beauty.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - porch_reader - LibraryThing

I heard David Rhodes read from this book at the Iowa City Book Festival. It is a follow-up to [Driftless], and since I had not read either book, I bought them both. Driftless was a great book, filled ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - cherybear - LibraryThing

So good. I wasn't sure about some of the odd happenings, but stick with it, it will all become all right in the end. Love and families are complicated, and this book is no exception. Throw in some Wisconsin names and places and it just feels right. Read full review

About the author (2013)

David Rhodes grew up near Des Moines where he attended a Quaker School. He dropped out of Beloit College in the 60's and eventually graduated from Marlboro College in Vermont. After receiving an MFA in Writing from the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop in 1971, he published three novels in rapid succession to acclaim: The Last Fair Deal Going Down (Atlantic/Little, Brown, 1972), The Easter House (Harper & Row, 1974), and Rock Island Line (Harper & Row, 1975). A motorcycle accident in 1976 left him paralyzed from the chest down. He continued writing, but did not publish again until 2008 when his novel, Driftless, was published. It received a Milkweed National Fiction prize, was read on Wisconsin Public Radio, and was chosen as an All Iowa Reads selection. Milkweed has reissued all of his previous books. He currently lives with his wife, Edna, in Wisconsin.

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