In a sort of prelude to the main narrative, August Helm (last seen at the age of 10 in Jewelweed) is working as a graduate student at the University of Chicago when two significant events occur – he falls in love with a wealthy and beautiful corporate executive, and he interrupts his boss having sex with a student. Both do not end well. With his tail between his legs, he returns to Words, Wisconsin in the Driftless region, where familiar friends and family await. But things are different – folks have aged, relationships have formed, and most notably, a compound of super-wealthy city dwellers have carved out a private space where they live a luxurious life a bit in fear of the locals – kind of a rural gentrification. Can August navigate this new life without repeating his past mistakes? And can David Rhodes continue his conversation about community and culture while weaving in class conflict, the roots of power, the biology of attraction, and some speculative elements? It’s a tall order, but I think he succeeds mightily, as long as you accept and even savor the philosophical digressions and a completely unexpected resolution.— Daniel Goldin
As a young man, David Rhodes worked in fields, hospitals, and factories across Iowa. After receiving an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, he published three acclaimed novels: The Last Fair Deal Going Down (1972), The Easter House (1974), and Rock Island Line (1975). In 1976, a motorcycle accident left him partially paralyzed. In 2008, Rhodes returned to the literary scene with Driftless, a novel that was hailed as "the best work of fiction to come out of the Midwest in many years" (Alan Cheuse, Chicago Tribune). A Guggenheim Fellow, Rhodes lives with his wife, Edna, in Wisconsin.