If you haven’t read Carolinas’ author Ron Rash before, here’s where to start:
▪ “The Cove.” This 2012 novel, Rash’s fifth, is set during WWI in an isolated cove outside Mars Hill. Laurel Shelton, a kind woman everyone believes is a witch, steals the reader’s heart while the villainous and deluded military recruiter Chauncey Feith, sets our teeth on edge. Fear of outsiders is a major theme here.
▪ “Serena.” This 2008 gothic tale of environmental ruthlessness and personal chaos, featuring the headstrong Serena, wife of a greedy timber baron, is set in Appalachia in the 1930s. A bestselling novel, Rash’s fourth and most ambitious, it was made into a French film in 2014 starring Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper.
▪ “One Foot in Eden.” This 2004 novel is Rash’s first, and it’s interesting to see where he started. Set in Seneca, S.C., Will Alexander, the town sheriff, along with his wife and son and the sheriff’s deputy narrate this tale of unsolved murder. Reviewers noted that this novel signaled “the bellwether arrival of one of the most mature and distinctive voices in Southern literature.”
Short Story Collection
“˚Something Rich and Strange.” This is the 2014 collection of stories (incorporating stories from the anthologies “Burning Bright” and “Nothing Gold Can Stay”) the New York Times called “a major short story anthology that can introduce new readers to this author’s haunting talents and reaffirm what his established following already knows.”
“Poems New & Selected.” 2016. The hardship and beauty of Appalachia lyrically rendered.