In this beautifully written collection of short stories, Ron Rash digs deep into the lives of people in the North Carolina Appalachian region to create a gritty and at times chilling portrait of those on the down and out. Each story in this collection left me feeling deep and thoughtful. The imagery is heart-breaking, humorous, poignant, maddening, eerie. Together the stories create an image of place so vivid that it makes me forget I have spent almost every summer of my life there and makes me believe that Rash's portrait of the region is the one and only.
The stories are divided into two parts which have no title, but the halves seem to be: "those who live there" and "those who left." The first half hosts stories about poverty-stricken farmers during the depression, meth addicts, poor modern townies, and depression, and shows a place that was struggling to survive, and is...
Beyond the Book
The Appalachian Region
According to the Appalachian Regional Commission, the Appalachian Region stretches along the Appalachian Mountain range from Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi up through parts of Pennsylvania and New York (see map below left). When most people refer to Appalachia, however, they are referring to the central (Virginia, West Virginia, and Kentucky) and southern regions (North Carolina, Tennessee, South Carolina, and south). Most of Rash's stories are populated with "Mountain Townies" - locals of the Boone and Asheville areas of North Carolina in the Central Appalachian region.
According to my cousin Jinny, a local of the area who also happens to be working on her PhD in history at Appalachian State University with a specialization in...