PEN/Faulkner Award finalist and New York Times bestselling author Ron Rash turns again to Appalachia to capture lives haunted by violence and tenderness, hope and fear, in unforgettable stories that span from the Civil War to the present day.Read more...
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PEN/Faulkner Award finalist and New York Times bestselling author Ron Rash turns again to Appalachia to capture lives haunted by violence and tenderness, hope and fear, in unforgettable stories that span from the Civil War to the present day.
In the title story, two drug-addicted friends return to the farm where they worked as boys to steal their former boss's gruesomely unusual war trophies. In "The Trusty," which first appeared in The New Yorker, a prisoner sent to fetch water for his chain gang tries to sweet-talk a farmer's young wife into helping him escape, only to find that she is as trapped as he is. In "Something Rich and Strange," a diver is called upon to pull a drowned girl's body free from under a falls, but he finds her eerily at peace below the surface. The violence of Rash's characters and their raw settings are matched only by their resonance and stark beauty, a masterful combination that has earned Rash an avalanche of praise.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2012-11-12
- Reviewer: Staff
Rash’s latest short fiction collection explores the often harsh vicissitudes of life in North Carolina. In the title story, two drug-addicted friends make plans to rob a former employer of his WWII souvenir, while “Night Hawks” features a former teacher with a self-inflicted facial scar who seeks refuge as a late-night radio DJ. Rash’s period stories, though, make the biggest impression, like the Depression-era “The Trusty,” in which a con man on a chain gang seduces a lonely farmer’s wife in the hope of using her to aid in his escape. In “The Magic Bus,” a 16-year-old country girl encounters two San Francisco hippies in a flower-painted VW microbus who entice her to run away with them. “The Dowry,” set immediately after the Civil War, relates how a pastor’s surprising sacrifice allows a young Union veteran to marry the daughter of a Confederate officer who lost his hand in battle. For a change of pace, in the humorous “A Sort of Miracle,” an accountant on an illegal bear hunt finds safety in the hands of his two slacker brothers-in-law. Although too many of the stories rely on the same basic dynamic, Rash impresses with clear-eyed, sympathetic writing about flawed and troubled characters. Agent: Marly Rusoff, the Marly Rusoff Literary Agency. (Mar.)