From Ron Rash, PEN / Faulkner Award finalist and New York Times bestselling author of Serena, comes a new collection of unforgettable stories set in Appalachia that focuses on the lives of those haunted by violence and tenderness, hope and fear—spanning the Civil War to the present day.
The darkness of Ron Rash’s work contrasts with its unexpected sensitivity and stark beauty in a manner that could only be accomplished by this master of the short story form.
Nothing Gold Can Stay includes 14 stories, including Rash’s “The Trusty,” which first appeared in The New Yorker.
Rash's latest short fiction collection explores the often harsh vicissitudes of life in North Carolina. In the title story, two drug-addicted friends make plans to rob a former employer of his WWII souvenir, while "Night Hawks" features a former teacher with a self-inflicted facial scar who seeks refuge as a late-night radio DJ. Rash's period stories, though, make the biggest impression, like the Depression-era "The Trusty," in which a con man on a chain gang seduces a lonely farmer's wife in the hope of using her to aid in his escape. In "The Magic Bus," a 16-year-old country girl encounters two San Francisco hippies in a flower-painted VW microbus who entice her to run away with them. "The Dowry," set immediately after the Civil War, relates how a pastor's surprising sacrifice allows a young Union veteran to marry the daughter of a Confederate officer who lost his hand in battle. For a change of pace, in the humorous "A Sort of Miracle," an accountant on an illegal bear hunt finds safety in the hands of his two slacker brothers-in-law. Although too many of the stories rely on the same basic dynamic, Rash impresses with clear-eyed, sympathetic writing about flawed and troubled characters.