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 gethelp-gethelp-gethelp. 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 neighbors, 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 wild sweet honey.
Praise for Jack Todd’s Rose & Poe:
“Innocence is savagely confronted by intolerance in a modern morality tale with classical roots . . . Todd’s curiosity of a novel touches on the familiar features of the original [The Tempest]—a once-powerful man in exile; a wondrous daughter; a suggestion of magic and fantastical beasts—but its shape is both different and more familiar . . . the writing is lyrical and the storytelling sincere” —Kirkus Review
“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.”
"Jack Todd is known in Canada as an outspoken sportswriter more 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, six-time Olympic medalist
"Shades of William Faulker! 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 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
“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)
Praise for Jack Todd’s Rain Falls Like Mercy:
Shortlisted, Reading the West Fiction Award (2011)
“Powerful . . . Todd’s vivid language is perfectly suited to the epic sweep of his narrative.”
—Publishers Weekly, starred review
“A sweeping story . . . Lean yet visceral prose . . . Todd masterfully captures both the larger historical moment and the more intimate details of family life.” —Booklist, starred review
"Todd’s writing is exceptional and vivid. . . . A brilliant, compelling . . . and highly readable novel." —Kirkus Reviews, starred review
“There’s a lot of violence in this book, and some of it is gruesome . . . but it pays off, bringing an already rich story to a gripping—and disquietingly contemporary-feeling—climax.” —Ottawa Citizen
Page extent: 260 pages (pb)
Publication date: Oct 17 2017
North America English rights, ECW Press
North American English audio rights, Tantor Media
For all other rights contact The Cooke Agency.
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.