The Driftless Area

Tom Drury, Author . Atlantic Monthly $23 (213p) ISBN 978-0-87113-943-6

Blasé 24-year-old Pierre Hunter is the unlikely hero of Drury's fourth novel, set in the isolated region of the Midwest that gives the book its title. Newly orphaned and bartending in a small town, Pierre is just coasting through life—until a near-fatal ice-skating accident introduces him to beautiful Stella Rosmarin, a mysterious girl who lives alone in an abandoned house. That too-lucky-to-be-chance rescue is the first of a string of strange incidents that fill Pierre's life as he begins an affair with Stella. When, on a cross-country hitchhiking trek, he unwittingly steals $77,000 from a dangerous character named Shane by landing a chance blow, the novel's tone shifts from absurd to surreal as Shane plots to get the money back. Meanwhile, Stella has been keeping a spooky secret that will be the undoing of everyone's plans. Though the Coen brothers-meet-David Lynch characters can seem stylized and two-dimensional, Drury (Hunts in Dreams ) has a knack for entertainingly weird detail that shines throughout. (Aug.)

Reviewed on: 05/08/2006
Release date: 06/01/2006
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Paperback - 213 pages - 978-0-8021-4304-4
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