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Extended Audio Sample Driftless, by David Rhodes Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.8 out of 53.8 out of 53.8 out of 53.8 out of 53.8 out of 5 3.80 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: David Rhodes Narrator: Lloyd James Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: June 2005 ISBN: 9781455196333
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Driftless is an unforgettable story of contemporary life in rural America. Home to a few hundred people yet absent from state maps, Words, Wisconsin, comes richly to life by way of an extraordinary cast of characters. Among them, a middle-aged couple guards the family farm from the mendacious schemes of their milk cooperative; a lifelong invalid finds herself crippled by her resentment of and her affection for her sister; a woman of conflicting impulses and pastor of the local Friends Church stumbles upon an enlightenment she never expected; a cantankerous retiree discovers a cougar living in his haymow, haunting him like a childhood memory; and a former drifter forever alters the ties that bind a community together. At once intimate and funny, wise and generous, Driftless marks the triumphant return of a significant American writer.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A series of portraits that resemble Edgar Lee Master's Spoon River Anthology in their vividness and in the cumulative picture they create of village life. Each of these stories glimmers.”

    New Yorker

  • “A symphonic paean to the stillness that can be found in certain areas of the Midwest…The writing in Driftless is beautiful and surprising throughout…It’s this poetic pointillism that originally made Rhodes famous.”

    Minneapolis Star Tribune

  • “Rhodes shows he still knows how to keep readers riveted. Add a blizzard, a marauding cougar, and some rabble-rousing militiamen, and the result is a novel that is as affecting as it is pleasantly overstuffed.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “In the Driftless region of Wisconsin, the rural town of Words is no longer on any map, but twenty-first-century concerns still manage to intrude. Lloyd James delivers a low-key yet deeply engrossing performance as the lives of the people are indelibly etched into our consciousnesses. James presents farmer Rusty Smith as a curmudgeon who eventually bites the bullet and hires local Amish carpenters. The portraits of James’s women characters are well done, especially those of new minister Winifred Smith’s and sisters Olivia and Violet Brasso. As Graham and Cora Shotwell, the couple caught in a Kafka-esque web for trying to expose a corrupt milk co-op, James is appropriately angry and perplexed. The pace is slow, the rhythms are easy, and James is top-notch.”

    AudioFile

  • “In vividly realized scenes involving family secrets, legal battles, gambling, and miracle cures, Rhodes illuminates the wisdom acquired through hard work, the ancient covenant of farming, and the balm of kindness. Encompassing and incisive, comedic and profound, Driftless is a radiant novel of community and courage.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “Though Driftless is a deeply contemporary tale—what it has to say about the way corporations treat small farmers is, for example, quite pressing—it also has the architectural complexity of the great 19th-century novels, but without the gimcrackery too often required to hold their stories together. It partakes as much of the moral universe of Magnolia as of Middlemarch. And it earns comparison to both.”

    Books & Culture

  • A 2008 Booklist Editors’ Choice
  • Winner of the 2008 Milkweed National Fiction Prize
  • A 2008 Christian Science Monitor Book of the Year for Fiction

Listener Opinions

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Shelley | 2/15/2014

    " Really really wanted to like it, but it just did not click for me. There were bright moments, but I wanted it to move a little faster. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Monica | 2/14/2014

    " Made for a lively book club discussion! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nancy | 2/6/2014

    " I think this book is definitely worth reading. I always have a hard time with books that change the narrator frequently, and this was no exception. I just don't easily keep track of the names to go along with each one's personal story. Definitely one of my hang ups. But, once I figured them out, I thought the characters were wonderful. The book made me laugh, and it made me cry. Always a good sign. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Stacy | 2/4/2014

    " LOVED this book. Every character is so humanely and honestly drawn. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kriscrowe | 1/21/2014

    " This is a story of the people in a small rather isolated community in Wisconsin--You really get to know the characters and how they all are interconnected. This is one of the best books I have read in a long time. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kathyg | 1/20/2014

    " Well written, interesting as it is a rural setting. Believable characters. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kristin Lawton | 1/15/2014

    " I like this book. If you like westerns, you'll like it too. About the odd characters who inhabit the small, dying farming town of Words, Minnesota. Dry, sparse, prose. Good stuff. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Judy | 1/9/2014

    " When I first started this book, I wasn't sure I would finish or but I'm glad I did. A few of the characters and events are a little out there but for the most part, it's a wonderful portrait of a rural Wisconsin town. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sarah Hale | 12/29/2013

    " I loved this book. I enjoyed the development of the characters and the intertwining of their relationships. I could relate to the rural setting, the small town pace. A good nightly read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sgrefe | 12/28/2013

    " good story, a bit wordy "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Sara Beth | 12/13/2013

    " i wanted to like this novel, the characters kept building and i kept imagining some final moment that brings them all together. it didn't deliver. overall helpful for my insomnia though. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bwags75 | 11/30/2013

    " The trifecta of the books given to me by Eric and Christa. Once I got into this midwestern drama - it was hard to put down, sometimes it seems Rhodes went a little far in description and character portrayals, but overall, I would recommend this to others. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Linda | 10/23/2013

    " Well written. The characters just grow and evolve as the novel progresses. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jane Marsh | 9/15/2013

    " Wonderful and rich story about great characters in rural Wisconsin. Very enjoyable read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kara Ripley | 6/25/2013

    " I did like the book. But felt it was overly descriptive which made the first 100 pages tedious. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 M | 11/8/2012

    " Starts a bit slow but worth pursuing as characters start to come alive and some great writing/imagery. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Judyspadoni | 8/27/2012

    " did not keep my interest "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mikki | 7/30/2012

    " A good entertaining read without the intensity of some books you can't put down when the kids need you. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Frank Mazzie | 5/12/2012

    " One of my favorite books. Great characters interwoven throughout the book. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Rachel Chiapparine | 9/27/2011

    " I got this book for free on a Nook "Free Friday", I really tried to like it however I just couldn't. I got 101 pages into and the story didn't grab me or make me interested to see what happened next. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Marsha | 8/18/2011

    " I enjoyed this book about small town life in Wisconsin.Interesting characters,descriptive settings and multiple tensions kept me interested to the end. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lauren | 8/7/2011

    " Simple story of people in a fictional southwestern Wisconsin town, and the contemporary struggles of a farm community in the 21st century. Good example of regional writing. Must read more by this author. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Corinna | 6/24/2011

    " Thought this book sounded intriguing but could barely get past the first few chapters. Was so slow moving and not capturing at all. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Linda | 6/21/2011

    " I liked the characters in this slow-moving novel set in southwest Wisconsin, but it bothers me that the area is portrayed as so backward. The story is supposedly set in contemporary times, but the author would have to change very little if he wanted to change the setting to, say, the 1950's. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Connie | 5/31/2011

    " This felt like a "little" book, because it was so contained to a small town, but it was also universal. It told the stories of several people, and how we all impact each other's lives in ways we may never realize. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Frank | 3/25/2011

    " One of my favorite books. Great characters interwoven throughout the book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dennis | 3/23/2011

    " Excellent mid-western novel. Captures the mood and feel of the real midwest.
    Must Read - 3
    Kept Attention - 5
    Well-written - 5
    Meaningful - 3
    Accessible - 5 "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Barb | 3/20/2011

    " This was a fun read. Maybe I could relate to the small-town-ness of it. Although they were much more interesting than the people I grew up with in Fairfax and had cool names such as "July" instead of "Agnes". "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Cathy | 3/15/2011

    " Beautiful character development helps weave interconnected stories about regular people in rural Wisconsin. "

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