Aptly titled, The Driftless Area tells the story of Pierre Hunter. He is a young man drifting through life after the recent deaths of his parents. Pierre works as a bartender and spends his free time wandering the streets of town. This occasionally gets him into trouble. In one amusing episode, Pierre exits one house party and accidentally returns to the wrong party at the wrong house. The owners of the home are not amused when they discover him although they allow him to perform a coin trick that falls flat before having him arrested for trespassing.
Oddly, Pierre’s luck changes when he almost drowns after falling through the ice on a remote lake while skating. He is rescued by a mysterious woman named Stella Rosmarin. The more Pierre gets to know Stella, the more mysterious she becomes.
Tom Drury’s writing style reminds me of author Denis Johnson except with a mystical twist. At first the novel seems like a grim realistic tale of life in a small Iowa town until seemingly improbable and impossible events start happening.
As I was writing this review, I discovered that The Driftless Area is currently being made into a movie starring Anton Yelchin, Zooey Deschanel and Audrey Plaza.