Keith Staskiewicz
December 17, 2014 AT 08:00 PM EST

Something Rich and Strange

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Ron Rash
publisher
Ecco Press
genre
Short Stories

We gave it an A-

There’s something in the specificity of Rash’s writing, the way he can pinpoint time (from the Civil War through modern times) and place (mainly his beloved Appalachia) and drag them improbably into the universal. He isn’t as well-known as he should be — although his 2008 novel, Serena, has recently been turned into a film starring Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper. This anthology of Rash’s earthy, often eerie short stories is like a forest you can get lost in for hours, small but affecting tales of poverty, addiction, pride, love, and despair threaded with life-altering acts of violence and a firm sense of humanity. The title is from one of the stories, but there’s no better description for what’s inside. A-

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