Something Rich and Strange: Selected Stories
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From the acclaimed, New York Times bestselling award-winning author of Serena and The Cove, thirty of his finest short stories, collected in one volume.
No one captures the complexities of Appalachia—a rugged, brutal landscape of exquisite beauty—as evocatively and indelibly as author and poet Ron Rash. Winner of the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award, two O Henry prizes, and a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award, Rash brilliantly illuminates the tensions between the traditional and the modern, the old and new south, tenderness and violence, man and nature. Though the focus is regional, the themes of Rash’s work are universal, striking an emotional chord that resonates deep within each of our lives.
Something Rich and Strange showcases this revered master’s artistry and craftsmanship in thirty stories culled from his previously published collections Nothing Gold Can Stay, Burning Bright, Chemistry, and The Night New Jesus Fell to Earth. Each work of short fiction demonstrates Rash’s dazzling ability to evoke the heart and soul of this land and its people—men and women inexorably tethered to the geography that defines and shapes them. Filled with suspense and myth, hope and heartbreak, told in language that flows like “shimmering, liquid poetry” (Atlanta Journal Constitution), Something Rich and Strange is an iconic work from an American literary virtuoso.
wore no holsters filled with “shooting irons,” the women no boots and breeches. Automobiles outnumbered horses. It had all been immensely disappointing. Until now. The old man was hitching his horse and wagon to a post as Wilson approached. He did not wear buckskin, but his long gray beard and tattered overalls, hobnailed boots, and straw hat bespoke a true rustic. The old man spurted a stream of tobacco juice as an initial greeting, then spoke in a brogue so thick Wilson asked twice for the
and flattened heads and were colored black or dull brown. There were others, however, that were stunning in their beauty: the bright-green tree boa, for instance, found in the Amazon; or the gaboon viper, an Asian snake, its dark-blue color prettier than the stained glass windows of our church. The most beautiful one of all, however, the coral snake, was found not in Australia, or Asia, or Africa, but in the American South. A picture of a coral snake appeared on page 137 of my book, and in the
assumed a guarded blankness. “I ain’t sending you back yonder if that’s your fearing,” the farmer said. “I’ve never had any truck with them that would. That’s why you’re up here, ain’t it, knowing that we don’t?” The black man nodded. “So where you run off from?” “Down in Wake County, Colonel Barkley’s home place.” “Got himself a big house with fancy rugs and whatnot, I reckon,” the farmer said, “and plenty more like you to keep it clean and pretty for him.” “Yes, suh.” The farmer appeared
and checked his watch. “Where’s Jennifer?” he asked his wife. “It’s our week to carpool.” “No pickup today,” Laura said. “Janice called while you were in the shower. Jennifer ran a temperature over a hundred all weekend. It hasn’t broken so Janice is staying home with her.” Boyd felt a cold dark wave of disquiet pass through him. “Have they been to the doctor?” “Of course,” Laura said. “What did the doctor say was wrong with Jennifer?” “Just a virus, something going around,” Laura said,
Boyd were a wild animal they didn’t want to reveal their presence to. Soon blue lights splashed against the sides of the two houses. Other neighbors joined Jim Coleman and Laura in the backyard. The policeman talked to Laura a few moments. She nodded once and turned in Boyd’s direction, her face wet with tears. The policeman spoke into a walky-talky and then started walking toward Boyd, handcuffs clinking in the policeman’s hands. Boyd stood up and held his arms out before him, both palms