Something Rich and Strange: Selected Stories

by Ron Rash

Hardcover, 2014





New York : Ecco, [2014]


No one captures the complexities of Appalachia as evocatively as Rash. This collection of short stories demonstrate his ability to evoke the heart and soul of this land and its people.

User reviews

LibraryThing member froxgirl
Ron Rash is my favorite author. Most of these 34 heartbreaking stories come from his prior collections. They are all very fine - Rash tells each tale in a few riveting pages, and all the endings work well. Most are melancholy tales set in North Carolina, in the present working class misery or in the Civil War working class misery. Rash's characters, strong men and women, weak men and women, always come off the page and move into your blood and bones. My favorites: Last Rite, where a mountain woman's son is found murdered in no man's land, and she absolutely needs to know where he breathed his last, for his entry in the family Bible, and Shiloh, one of the two stories newly published in book form, where a Union soldier finds a worse enemy at home than on the battlefront. Do not miss these.… (more)
LibraryThing member Hagelstein
When you come across a Ron Rash story it’s usually the best short story you’ve read in a while, and it often lingers. But his true mastery of the form comes into clear view in a collection, especially this collection. Read one after the other, Rash’s stories are rich, evocative, carefully constructed, and often otherworldly good.

And Rash knows how to pace a story. None is longer than it needs to be – you’re left wanting more but knowing it’s not needed.

Several of the stories here are set in the historical context of war and its aftermath. WWII (Return), Afghanistan (Twenty-Six Days), but most often the Civil War. Rash explores how war affects fighting men and those that love them. The trauma of the Civil War (Shiloh, Lincolnites, Where the Map Ends) in particular, where towns and even families were divided by their loyalties.

The stories with contemporary settings show a rural south ravaged by desperation, poverty, methamphetamine and the disruption of a society being dragged the modern day.

“Three A.M. and the Stars Were Out”, about two widowers saving a calf, is about a good a story as it gets. “Their Ancient, Glittering Eyes” is the best fish story I’ve read. “The Corpse Bird” explores the tension between the “Rational. Educated. Enlightened” world and “people who believed the world could reveal all manner of things if you paid attention.” In “The Woman at the Pond” Rash gives the best description of dusk: “that hour when day and night made their slow exchange.”
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LibraryThing member bookfest
Rash is remarkable! He can create a character you care for, deeply, in just a few pages. His stories are southern, ranging in time from the Civil War to contemporary events. There are soldiers and meth addicts. Slaves of then and now. His endings are almost always harsh twists; you cry, no!



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