As a young man, David Rhodes worked in fields, hospitals, and factories across Iowa. After receiving an MFA in Writing from the University of Iowa Writers Workshop in 1971, he published three novels in rapid succession: The Last Fair Deal Going Down (Atlantic/Little, Brown, 1972), The Easter House (Harper & Row, 1974), and Rock Island Line (Harper & Row, 1975). A motorcycle accident in 1976 left him paralyzed from the chest down, since which time he continued writing but stopped publishing. He lives with his wife, Edna, in Wonewoc, Wisconsin.
Interview with David Rhodes
Booklist Online, an interview with David Rhodes, September 18, 2008
Another link to information about David Rhodes.
David Rhodes reads from Driftless on YouTube, August 6, 2009
The following URL links to an audio of a "Live from Prairie Lights" program recorded last summer when Rhodes was there. http://www.prairielights.com/david-rhodes
Other books written by David Rhodes:
Rock Island Line, 1975, 2009 Milkweed Press.
ISBN: 9781571310606 $15.00
Rock Island Line introduces a memorable character in American fiction: July Montgomery. Born and raised in the idyll of Sharon Center, Iowa—a life of four-leaf clovers, dogs, and fishing—the young boy is rocked by the tragic death of his parents, a blow that precipitates his bitter exile from Eden. Fleeing via the Rock Island Line, July lands in Philadelphia and fashions a ghostly and insulated existence in an underground train station.
When a young woman frees July from his malaise, they return together to the Iowa heartland, where the novel soars to its heartrending consummation. Restored to the setting of his beloved grandparents and parents, and yet perched on the precipice of a disaster that could herald his end, July must decide whether to continue running, or stand still and hope for the promised dawn of Paradise Regained.
The Easter House, 1974, 2009 Milkweed Press
ISBN: 9781571310774 $15.00
The largest residence in Ontarion, Iowa, looms over the town and three generations of the Easters. A minister favored by the townspeople until he rescued a Caliban-like creature from a carnival sideshow, Ansel Easter paved a difficult path for his sons, C and Sam. After Ansel’s violent death, no one in town was surprised when his children abandoned the house their father built in search of a new beginning.
Unable to shake Ansel’s burdensome legacy from afar, the brothers return separately to the house. C and his wife start a junkyard in the expansive lawn of the Easter house and barter used appliances, cars, and random items for necessities. Eventually, C and Sam create a more lucrative business: the Associates, a group of men offering services for a fee. When a rash of deaths occur and the Ontarions suspect the Associates, the sins of the father appear to revisit the sons.
Shocking and suspenseful, The Easter House is an engrossing story of family redemption and survival. Originally published in 1974, David Rhodes’ second novel captures the oppressive somnolence of a small community while intertwining elements of the American gothic tradition, illuminating the strangeness that lurks beneath the surface.
The Last Fair Deal Going Down, 1972.
Out of print.