Kerri's book pick this week is "Jewelweed" by David Rhodes. It's set in the fictitious Wisconsin town of Words. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says the Midwestern setting is a vital component to the novel:
"From the first pages, Rhodes ... transports the reader into this tightknit community where everyone knows each other. They gather in the parking lot of the local repair shop that shares a space with the craft store, the only commercial establishments left in town, to catch up on the news and gossip in idle conversation that generally proves to be anything but."
If "Jewelweed" becomes part of the canon of great Midwest literature, what books will it join? In the Daily Beast in 2011, Anna Clark argued that "while writers from other areas of the U.S. are typically discussed in context of their native landscape, writers from the Midwest, strangely, are not."
What are your favorite books set in the Midwest?
LEARN MORE ABOUT THE LITERATURE OF THE MIDWEST:
• 10 of the Best Books Set in the Midwest
"Everyone knows 'Middlesex' as the story of a hermaphroditic teenager, but to us, it's just as much about Detroit and the seclusion of the suburbs as it is about Cal. Indeed, at the time of its release, the Detroit Free Press gushed, 'at last Detroit has its novel. What Dublin got from James Joyce — a sprawling, ambitious, loving, exasperated and playful chronicle of all its good and bad parts — Detroit has from native son Eugenides in these 500 pages.' We must say that we agree." (Flavorwire)
• Respect the Midwest
"There are Southern Gothic tales, Westerns, New York stories, and plenty of novels about Boston, California, and even Washington, D.C. But what of the fiction native to the center of America? Alas, even passionate readers might draw a blank about literature that's emerged from this overlooked, but nonetheless mythic, landscape." (Daily Beast)