ROSE & POE

Jack Todd

Set in mythical Belle Coeur County in a time not too far from our own, Rose & Poe gloriously re-imagines Shakespeare’s The Tempest from the point of view of Caliban and his mother.

Rose and her giant, simple son, Poe, live quietly on the fringes of their town — tending their goats and working at odd jobs. Prosper Thorne, banished from his big-city law practice and worrying about his fading memory, obsessively watches over his beloved daughter Miranda.

When Poe erupts from the forest one day carrying Miranda’s bruised and bloody body,

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Set in mythical Belle Coeur County in a time not too far from our own, Rose & Poe gloriously re-imagines Shakespeare’s The Tempest from the point of view of Caliban and his mother.

Rose and her giant, simple son, Poe, live quietly on the fringes of their town — tending their goats and working at odd jobs. Prosper Thorne, banished from his big-city law practice and worrying about his fading memory, obsessively watches over his beloved daughter Miranda.

When Poe erupts from the forest one day carrying Miranda’s bruised and bloody body, he is arrested, despite his protestations of get help-get help-get help. Overnight, Rose and Poe find themselves pariahs in the county where they have lived all their lives. In the face of bitter hatred and threats from her neighbours, the implacable Rose devotes all her strength to proving Poe’s innocence and saving him from prison or worse.

Rose & Poe is a tale of a mother’s boundless love for an apparently unlovable child, and a stunning fable for our own troubled times. It will stick in your memory like sweet wild honey.

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  • ECW Press
  • Paperback
  • October 2017
  • 260 Pages
  • 9781770413993

Buy the Book

$15.95

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About Jack Todd

Jack Todd was born and grew up in Nebraska. He came to Canada during the Vietnam War and eventually settled in Montreal, where he has been a columnist for the Montreal Gazette for nearly 30 years. He is the author of a memoir and three previous novels.

Praise

“Written so beautifully, Rose & Poe takes the reader to a place where we not only learn, but more importantly, we feel. This book showed in the most powerful way the spectrum of who we are as humans: our ability to love, accept, and encourage, and our potential for hurt, hate, and ignorance. A magnificent read.”Clara Hughes, O.C., O.M., Olympic medalist and author

“Innocence is savagely confronted by intolerance in a modern morality tale with classical roots . . . The writing is lyrical and the storytelling sincere.”Kirkus Reviews

“In this shining cautionary tale, Jack Todd weaves eternal threads of love and compassion through the fabric of our malice. Memorable and true, the title characters in Rose & Poe are gifted with the grace of affection.”Trevor Ferguson (aka John Farrow)

“A haunting parable, full of anger at the cruelties that deform modern America and of hope in the power of unconditional love.”Mark Abley, author of Spoken Here: Travels among Threatened Languages

Discussion Questions

1. In Shakespeare’s original play, The Tempest, he portrays Caliban, his monster in a surprisingly sympathetic light, given the prejudices of his time. What do you suppose the author Jack Todd wants us to see in Poe, his Caliban? What are the prejudices of our time he exposes through Poe?

2. Music plays a big part in this novel. Like love, it is used here as a device of unity and camaraderie and joy. Think of your favorite music scenes in the book. How do they act to counter the scenes of prejudice?

3. Rarely has there been such a fierce and joyous portrait of love as that of Rose for Poe. Like Shakespeare’s famous sonnet, it does not alter when it alteration finds. Is there a particular scene where Rose’s love most stands out for you? Why do you find it memorable?

4. The townspeople are quick to turn on Poe when they can, with tragic consequences. Do you think it shook them to behave better in the future? Why?

5. Fables are often thought of as for children or leftover from time past. Why do you think the author chose to tell this story as a modern fable for adults?

6. The book has many memorable minor characters. Which are your favorites? Why?