If 2014 was the year of Bill Bryson (and with 7 of his books under my belt last year, I think it’s safe to say he was a favorite), then this year must be dubbed “The Year of Ron Rash.” I’m not sure how I have somehow avoided the North Carolina native in my years of Amazon and bookshop trolling, but it happened. I have read five of his novels and one collection of short stories this year and they have all been more thought-provoking than the last. Rash is truly one of the masters of great Appalachian literature. I haven’t been a huge fan of short stories in the past, but with just a couple dozen pages, I am drawn into the dark, gritty worlds of these characters. He is somehow able to capture the unique culture of Appalachia – of yesterday and today. If you are a North Carolinian or a lover of Southern fiction, you must check him out. Read “Serena” or “One Foot in Eden” first – both are wonderfully haunting stories.
I was recently able to attend a reading of “Something Rich and Strange,” his latest collection of short stories. The experience made me want to devour this book in tiny pieces, as I savored every single story!