“Powerful . . . Todd’s vivid language is perfectly suited to the epic sweep of his narrative.” — Publishers Weekly, starred review of Rain Falls Like Mercy
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.
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.
“Part crime/court novel, part legend, reminiscent of Of Mice and Men and The Tempest, you should be sure to add this to your TBR and snap it up as soon as it's available!” — Partial to Prose blog
“Shades of William Faulkner! We have known for years that Jack Todd is one of North America's great sportswriters. With Rose & Poe he elevates his game to fiction — and does so magnificently” — Roy MacGregor, author of The Home Team and Canoe Country
In this backwoods New England Tempest, the cloud-capped towers and gorgeous palaces of Shakespeare's imagining have given way to a rickety tower built of railroad ties and a little yellow house with a goat shed out behind. Jack Todd transforms the story into 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.
Todd takes Shakespeare's most enigmatic, magic-infused work and fashions it into a morality tale with an uncannily of-the-moment resonance. . . The language of the book, a mix of Twain folksiness and Old Testament-flavoured Faulkner, is sustained flawlessly, and there are set pieces of an affecting lyricism. . . perhaps Todd's most impressive achievement.” — Montreal Gazette
“Todd's lyrical but simple prose is a pleasure to read and is most effective in its descriptions of nature. . . Rose & Poe is a well-crafted tale about discrimination, prejudice, and the danger of being different. Most of all, it is a homage to motherly love.” — Montreal Review of Books
“In Canada, Jack Todd is known more as an outspoken sportswriter than the brilliant, lyrical storyteller he is. Rose & Poe is a gift to us all, written so beautifully it takes the reader to a place where we not only learn, but more importantly, we feel. The vibrant characters and flowing narrative touched me deeply. 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., six-time Olympic medalist Summer and Winter Games
“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).
“Innocence is savagely confronted by intolerance in a modern morality tale with classical roots . . . The writing is lyrical and the storytelling sincere.” — Kirkus Reviews
“Oh, my heart. This story packs such an emotional punch! The writing is simple and lovely – you will absolutely fall in love with both Rose and Poe. . . This story is just amazing. . . ” — What Meg Reads blog