ROCK ISLAND LINE by David Rhodes


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It's a mighty good road to ride if you don't mind a few bumps in a narrative which gets side-railed from time to time. Rough, but big as all Iowa where this starts out from -- a family saga of Wilson and Della Montgomery who arrive from nowhere to win the heart of Sharon Center's folks (minor characters pop in and out again) and then their son John the ""sensualist"" who wanders off one day to return with wife Sarah, a moaner of otherworldly sexiness. They're all ""very special"" people, each with his own strangeness -- so that all the while Rhodes' imagination seems to shuttle from magical realism, specters and all, to the stuff of Americana. July Montgomery is born after some hundred pages of family album, and the Rock Island Line gets under steam after all his kin have died on him and July's run away to become a Philadelphia paper boy who resides underneath the City Hall subway platform. Adventures -- and fateful deaths -- pile up on him, though July has withal the family fiber and their art of ""doing the unbelievable."" The novel -- David Rhodes' third -- runs wild with unrestrained talent. It catches you up in its momentum (and Rhodes' potential) even when it veers way out of coherence -- in a hurry, it seems, to see the whole wide world out of one window.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1975
ISBN: 1571310606
Publisher: Harper & Row