the next good book


By David Rhodes


429 pages

What’s it about? This book is a collage of stories that center around the small, rural town of Words, Wisconsin. It is the kind of small town that you drove through 30 years ago and wondered if it would still be there the next time you passed through.  It is town alive with characters that live a different kind of life- a life that is slowly becoming extinct. What did it make me think about? This book is about life in a rural small town and it made me sad to think this way of life may be coming to an end.  The story was also about our universal journey through life and how- although we are essentially alone in our experience- we do not have to be lonely.  It is about the connections we make as a community and how those connections ultimately sustain us.  It is a message that resonates whether you live in a small, rural town or a high-rise in the city.  Having said that it also uniquely demonstrates the attitude and work ethic that have sustained the American farmer for hundreds of years. Should you read it? Well- this book was a slow starter for me. I really loved it, BUT these interwoven stories are not for everyone.  There are so many characters and it takes awhile to see who is who, and how they connect.   The characters are SO incredibly well drawn that you find yourself looking forward to hearing from them again.   In some ways Mr. Rhodes writing reminds me of Wallace Stegner.  I remember reading “Angle of Repose” and enjoying it but feeling like I could only read it slowly.  I felt the same way with “Driftless”.  So I encourage you all to pick it up and take your time as Mr. Rhodes is a man of immense talent! Quote- “Though he didn’t give a nickel what any particular individual thought about him and even help most of his neighbors in near-contempt, the mass of them all together- the community- had considerable weight.”

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