Jewelweed (Rhodes)

David Rhodes, 2013
Milkweed Editions
448 pp.
ISBN-13: 9781571311009

With his 2008 novel Driftless, "the best work of fiction to come out of the Midwest in many years" (Alan Cheuse, NPR), Rhodes brought Words, Wisconsin, to life in a way that resonated with readers across America.

Now, with Jewelweed, this beloved author returns to the Driftless Region, and introduces a cast of characters who all find themselves struggling to find a new sense of belonging in the present moment—sometimes with the help of peach preserves or mashed potato pie.

After serving time for a conviction, Blake Bookchester returns home, enthralled by the philosophy of Spinoza and yearning for the woman he loves. Having agitated for his release, Reverend Winifred Helm slowly comes to understand that she is no longer fulfilled by the ministry.

Winnie’s precocious son, August, and his best friend, Ivan, befriend a hermit and roam the woods in search of the elusive Wild Boy. And Danielle Workhouse, Ivan’s single mother and Blake’s former lover, struggles to do right by her son. These and other inhabitants of Words—all flawed, deeply human, and ultimately universal—approach the future with a combination of hope and trepidation, increasingly mindful of the importance of community to their individual lives.

Rich with a sense of empathy and wonder, Jewelweed offers a vision in which the ordinary becomes mythical, and the seemingly mundane is transformed into revelatory beauty. (From the publisher.)

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