by Ron Rash
North Carolina author Ron Rash has invented “a villainess like no other,” said Soyia Ellison in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Serena Pemberton is the sun-bronzed, gun-toting wife of a Boston-bred lumber magnate, and when she steps off a train in the opening scene of Rash’s new Depression-era Appalachian tale, she “casts a shadow” as long as any since Lady Macbeth’s. It “greatly pleases” this brisk, blond capitalist “that labor is cheap and easily replaceable,” said Janet Maslin in The New York Times. Her unbridled ambition soon strips the mountains bare, leaving a trail of broken bodies and awed onlookers. But a local woman whom she crosses early on emerges as a formidable foil, and their rivalry unfolds with “the piercing fatalism of an Appalachian ballad.” Rash knows his territory well. A former O. Henry Prize winner, he has “a fine ear” for the “idiomatic, laconic talk” of the assorted lumberjacks who provide running commentary on the whole drama. His impassioned fourth novel truly is a wonder, said David Frauenfelder in the Raleigh, N.C., News & Observer. It “rubs shoulders with the best of American literature.”
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- How academia's liberal bias is killing social science
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- Hey, bosses: Stop giving bonuses to your employees
- Why torture doesn't work: A definitive guide
- 10 things you need to know today: December 18, 2014
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Could better U.S.-Cuban relations thwart baseball's human smuggling problem?
- Dick Cheney's America is an ugly place
- The Hobbit: A disappointing set of movies, but a worthy set of prequels
- What is Jebonomics?
Subscribe to the Week