BookBrowse Reviews In the Valley by Ron Rash

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In the Valley

Stories and a Novella Based on Serena

by Ron Rash

In the Valley by Ron Rash X
In the Valley by Ron Rash
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  • Published:
    Aug 2020, 240 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Kelly Hydrick
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Set from the Civil War era to the present day, these tales are brutal character studies that evoke the specificity of Appalachia while illuminating life's perennial struggles.

Ron Rash's short story collection In the Valley features ten tales set in the southern Appalachian region (see Beyond the Book). This is the first time I've read anything by Rash, and I'll be adding his other works to my reading list. Ranging from the Civil War era, to the Great Depression of the early 1930s, to the 2008 financial crisis, the stories meander between time periods while always maintaining a feeling of Appalachian space and place. Rash writes varied, fully realized human beings with distinct backstories using efficient, nuanced prose.

Often, the stories hinge on what is left unsaid, or what is said only at the very end. In "Sad Man in the Sky," a sightseeing helicopter pilot has a strange encounter with a remorseful man who wants to give his ex-girlfriend's kids presents by dropping them from the air. The pilot flies him over a house perched on a mountaintop, where two ...

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