ROCK ISLAND LINE

David Rhodes

Published in 1975 to great acclaim, 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.

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Published in 1975 to great acclaim, 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.

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  • Milkweed Editions
  • Paperback
  • September 2008
  • 384 Pages
  • 9781571310606

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About David Rhodes

As a young man, David Rhodes worked in fields, hospitals, and factories across Iowa. After receiving an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, he published three acclaimed novels: The Last Fair Deal Going Down (1972),The Easter House (1975), and Rock Island Line (1977). In 1977, a motorcycle accident left him partially paralyzed. In 2008, Rhodes returned to the literary scene with Driftless, a novel that was hailed as “the best work of fiction to come out of the Midwest in many years” (Alan Cheuse). He lives with his wife, Edna, in rural Wisconsin.

Praise

“‘A new, hitherto unknown novelist swam into my ken,’ Floyd Dell wrote in his autobiography more than forty years ago about a time back further still when a Midwesterner named Sherwood Anderson pressed a manuscript into his hands . . . American readers can now enjoy a similar shock of recognition by picking up . . . David Rhodes.”

Alan Cheuse, New York Times Book Review

One of the best eyes in recent fiction belongs to the novelist David Rhodes. Rhodes’ eye, like any fine novelist’s, is accurate both about literal detail . . . and about metaphorical equivalencies. The main point be noticed, however, is that nothing in Rhodes’ vision is secondhand.”

John Gardner, from On Becoming a Novelist

Wildly imaginative.”

Saturday Review