Thursday, May 5, 2016

The brilliant David Rhodes

David Rhodes (2013)

Sometimes you read the written word and you just get a lovely chill up your spine, a chill of delight. For last month's book club we read David Rhodes for the second time and I was again overwhelmed with his ability to create sentences, paragraphs, and chapters into such beauty.  After reading two of his books I'm now counting myself to be somewhat of an expert.  I have a just a few quotes here to share to entice you to read him as well.

"Nate was rubbing the back of his neck when his Breakfast Pie arrived in a deep blue ceramic dish. Curling blades of steam rose from cracks in the top.  He poked his fork in, pried open a piece of crust and released and eruption of scalding air. ...Freeing a small piece from the dish, he held it in midair, watched steam curl around the fork, and slid it between his teeth. Anticipating the heat, he didn't close his lower jaw until this tongue informed him of an acceptable temperature.  The taste moved into the corners of his mouth and his feature-detectors identified separate flavors; the crust, as he suspected was mostly seasoned bread crumbs and mild white cheddar; the mashed potato base held vegetable and ham, the binding savor owing most of its character to marjoram and thyme." (7)

Beneath the dock, lazy liquid slapped against oak posts, and water bugs skittered madly in and out of rolling shadows. The hoarse croaking of a bullfrog sounded like an ancient door pried open, thick ribbons of iridescent green slime grew underwater, and the smell of moist heat, earth, and damp wood rose into the air.  These sensations dove to the bottom of Kevin's mind, where they were set to work in the mines of his young imagination." (24)

"The giant silver maple at the top of the hill had a trunk nearly as wide as a garage door. He looked up into it and saw massive limbs flowing, outward and upward, supporting an array of branches and stems and a plantation of leaves that quivered audibly in the breeze.  The undersides of the leaves, lighter in color, glittered when the leaves moved.

It was twenty degrees cooler here in the shade, and Nate immediately felt his body relaxing.  He sat down and leaned against the trunk, then looked out across the ocean of cornrows below.  On and on the green plants grew, pulling nutrients from the ground and turning them into corn.

The darkness that had afflicted him earlier evaporated." (81)

"The morning, however, had an altogether different story to tell. After washing in cold water, dressing, making coffee, and carrying a steaming cup of it outside to drink, his surroundings unfolded before him a a way Blake had never experienced before.  The preying vacancy of the night before had been replaced by the silent marvel of dew and plant life shaking off sleep, regrowing the world. A new sun rose in the east, and the beads of moisture hanging from the spokes of his motorcycle burned like blue diamonds.  A chorus of wild fledglings sang about the significance of eating weed seeds, having feathers, and flying wherever they wanted. The air felt alive, and he participated in its vitality with every breath." (233)

Rhodes has an affection for the wild, a connection to nature and good food.  His descriptions simply amaze me and his characters are interestingly flawed.

We read his book Driftless last year as well and this continues many of the same characters and plunges them into another story.  If you are in need of a good book look no further than Driftless and Jewelweed.

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