Driftless Book Review
Even to the most die-hard sic-fi/fantasy/mystery/genre-loving readers and writers, its necessary to occasionally read a novel that is simply real. Real characters, in a real setting, dealing with real life issues. If you can convey the truth of human nature with crisp writing and clear intuition, the plot doesn’t matter, it will be a great story! These real stories (especially if they’re fictional) are the ones that nurture the soul in a way no genre fiction can.
Driftless by David Rhodes nurtured my soul.
Driftless dives into the lives of several characters, their stories interweaving like any small-town neighbors’ would. Rhodes builds each story with quick glimpses, each chapter jumping into the perspective of another character. We view the life of a lonely cripple who bets it all in hopes of finding new life; a mourning farmer who finds new love; a female priest that experiences the truth of the world; and my favorite story, a young family who finds themselves in the middle of a giant milk corporation scandal. Weaved into these stories are dog fights, car chases, deadly snow storms, and musical adventures. Although the story is largely philosophical and descriptive, these short bursts of adrenaline offer a great balance.
Nothing if not beautiful, the writing is descriptive and meditative. Lengthy at times but also heartfelt and comforting. Here are a few glimpses into that beauty…
Like primeval cathedral bells his mother’s voice called…
The color of the [cougar] impressed him…this kind of bright black. It drew all other colors to it, like water to a drain. The animal possessed a darkness even beyond black, with two glowing eyes as yellow as stars.
Gail, in her red coat, and surrounded by a sea of flowers, looked like a cardinal in a spring apple tree.
For more, check out my previous blog, The Outstanding Similes and Metaphors of David Rhodes.
Many of the short chapters in Driftless hold their own miniature but full stories. A few sections could be read out of context and still satisfy a reader. Its a beautiful thing that takes a talented writer. These stories help the reader feel fulfilled even when the long, slow plot seems exhausting at times.
I strongly considered 5 stars but the slow pace of the novel made me drop. If I was the editor I wouldn’t cut a single chapter, but still, the slow pace was a bit of drawback.
Posted on July 29, 2015, in Book Review and tagged book review, books, characterization, david rhodes, description, driftless, faith, fiction, literature, plot, quotes, wisconsin, writing. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.