Nothing Gold Can Stay: Book summary and reviews of Nothing Gold Can Stay by Ron Rash

Nothing Gold Can Stay

Stories

by Ron Rash

Nothing Gold Can Stay
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  • Published in USA  Feb 2013
    256 pages
    Genre: Short Stories & Essays

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Book Summary

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.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Violence-streaked stories that comprise another fine collection from Rash…his oneness with the region and its people makes an indelible impression." - Kirkus

"Rash impresses with clear-eyed, sympathetic writing about flawed and troubled characters." - Publishers Weekly

"Rash's short stories thematically paint Appalachia not as a definitive place but as a series of many interconnected ways of relating to human and environmental frailty. Another fine addition to the Rash bibliography, and a great entry point for the uninitiated reader." - Library Journal

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Reader Reviews

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Diane S.

Nothing Gold can stay
These stories have such a strong atmosphere of the Appalachians, which is of course what Rash is best noted for. I wasn't sure if his stories would follow the same path of his novels, his brutal honesty in his treatment of his characters and his at times rather violent twists. One has to think when reading these stories, he leaves much out and never sets the reader on a clear path. Some of them do not have definitive endings and it is up to the readers interpretation to figure out what happened or will happen. These are different and though there is some humor I would not say these stories are read for fun, they are read for a great sense of time and place, interesting characters that can alternately be both victim and villain. They are read because Rash is just plain good.

Cloggie Downunder

Rash’s stories are pure gold.
“I’d fish until it was neither day nor night, but balanced between. There never seemed to be a breeze, pond and shore equally smoothed. Just stillness, as though the world had taken a soft breath, and was holding it in, and even time had leveled out, moving neither forward nor back. Then the frogs and crickets waiting for full dark announced themselves, or a breeze came up and I again heard the slosh of water against land”

Nothing Gold Can Stay is an omnibus of fourteen short stories by American author, Ron Rash. Ranging from the time of the Civil War through to the present day, the stories occur in a feast of Appalachian settings: Tennessee mountains, small town, a river between Georgia and South Carolina, a casino, a farm near the Tennessee border, a college campus, a slope in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, a derelict old house, a pond and more.

Rash is a consummate storyteller who gives his reader a marvellous cast of characters: a prison trusty on a road gang, a desperate pair of drug addicts, a diver called in to recover a body, a debt-weary couple hoping for good luck, a pair of black fugitives, an Englishman with an interest in ballads, a father worried for his daughter serving in the Middle East, a husband fed up with his Florida in-laws, a mountain boy with a chance at a better life, a sixteen-year-old girl wishing for a more exciting life, a nineteenth century pastor who takes a drastic step to help a young couple, a grocery store manager prompted to recall an encounter in his teens, a night-time radio DJ and a retired veterinarian.

The stories are filled with twists, amusing plays on language and accent, black humour, irony and, of course, beautiful prose. Rash will cause the reader to think about deception, theft, loyalty, feuds, gambling, hopelessness, revenge, physical beauty and ageing. Rash’s love of the Appalachian setting is apparent in every paragraph: “He stood there in the late-afternoon light, absorbing the valley’s expansiveness after days in the mountains. The land rippled out and appeared to reach all the way to where the sun and earth merged”. Rash’s stories are pure gold.
4.5 stars

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Author Information

Ron Rash Author Biography

Photo: Mark Haskett

Ron Rash was born in Chester, South Carolina, in 1953, grew up in Boiling Springs, North Carolina, and is a graduate of Gardner-Webb University and Clemson University. In 1994 he published his first book, a collection of short stories titled The Night the New Jesus Fell to Earth. Since then, Rash has published four collections of poetry, three short story collections, and five novels, all to wide critical acclaim and several awards and honors. Rash's poems and stories have appeared in more than 100 magazines and journals over the years. With each new book, Rash has confirmed his position as a central and significant Appalachian writer alongside well-established names like Fred Chappell, Lee Smith, and Robert Morgan.

In 1996, Rash won the Sherwood Anderson Prize, a grant for developing ...

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