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New York Times bestselling author Ron Rash returns again to Appalachia to capture lives haunted by violence and tenderness, hope and fear in unforgettable stories that span 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 boss’s unusual but valuable war trophies. In ‘The Trusty’, Ron Rash’s first story to appear in the New Yorker, a prisoner sent to fetch water for the chain gang tries to sweet talk a farmer’s young wife into helping him escape, only to find 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 finds her eerily at peace below the surface.
The violence of Rash’s characters and their raw settings are matched only by their unexpected tenderness and stark beauty, a masterful combination that has earned Rash an avalanche of praise.
‘In the end it is not the shocking stories that make this collection so memorable but smaller, more allusive ones such as the deeply impressive The Magic Bus…For in these quieter stories one feels the same compassion that animates Twenty-Six Days, and by extension, the sliver of Chekov.’
‘When writers gather and tipple while discussing those not present at the table but admired, the name Ron Rash quickly comes up. Rash throws a big shadow now and it’s only going to get bigger and soon.’
‘[The stories] display a universality that goes beyond time or place…There is a purity and precision in Rash’s prose reminiscent of his poetry, that makes these stories deceptively easy to read as they are hard to forget. This is memorable and unflinching short fiction.’
‘Short stories may be to novels as carpentry is to architecture, but all of Rash’s stories are crafted, jointed and dovetailed in quite beautiful, striking ways. Perhaps good short stories are consistently distinguished by the sort of severe, exacting clarity in which Rash specialises.’
‘Rash writes in the tradition of William Faulkner and Flannery O’Connor and more contemporary writers such as Charles Frazier and Cormac McCarthy. His fiction occupies that strange, language-driven netherland between myth and realism. It’s a dark, poetic, blood-soaked world.’
‘Set during World War I, The Cove is a novel that speaks intimately to today’s politics. Beautifully written, tough, raw, uncompromising, entirely new. Ron Rash is a writer’s writer who writes for others’
‘The Cove is a marvelous novel, bristling with power, humanity and the exceptional quality of characterization and story-telling we have come to expect from Ron Rash’
‘‘Ron Rash’s Burning Bright is a volume of spare, finely tuned short stories that take us deep into the soul of the American highlands…this volume of stories consolidates Rash’s reputation as an American master at the height of his powers.’
‘Powerful, violent and compelling, Serena has the grace of a literary masterpiece, a read to be savoured page after page. The language is cool, clear and compelling; dialogue and atmospherics as sharp as the Appalachian mountain air.’
‘Get as far as the opening page of Ron Rash’s Serena and you won’t be able to put it down…His writing is beautifully evocative and his sense of place and time captivating…utterly chilling and gripping reading. Ron Rash has a bestseller on his hands.’
‘Rash is a consummate storyteller…The stories are filled with twists, amusing plays on language and accent, black humour, irony and, of course, beautiful prose.’