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Ron Rash

As the Book Review Editor at the News & Observer of Raleigh, I had the great good fortune to work with Fred Chappell and Robert Morgan after they had already established themselves as leading Appalachian writers who were masters of almost every literary form, including short stories, poetry and the novel.

So it was with special pleasure that I witnessed one of their worthy successors emerge in 1994 when Ron Rash debuted with The Night The New Jesus Fell to Earth and Other Stories from Cliffside, North Carolina.

Ron has delivered on that promise in the years since, gracing us with a cornucopia of top-notch work, including the poetry collections  (short stories), Eureka Mill (1998), Among the Believers (2000), Raising the Dead (2002) and Waking (2011); the story collections Casualties (2000), Chemistry and Other Stories (2007) and Burning Bright (2010)  as well as the novels One Foot in Eden (2002), Saints at the River (2004), The World Made Straight (2006), Serena (2008) and The Cove (2012).

One sign that a writer has arrived is that his works receive wide review coverage very close to the official publication date. Ron’s new story collection, Nothing Gold Can Stay, was officially released on Feb. 13 and this Sunday he received strong reviews in the Boston Globe, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune and the News & Observer of Raleigh, where John Murawski observed that the story collection  “spans about 150 years of Southern history and depicts an unvarnished Appalachia of self-mutilators, meth heads, antisocial loners, hapless lovers, fugitive slaves, wily conmen, doomed vacationers and breached calves.” Ron also received a less affirming review in the Chicago Tribune.

 Ron Rash’s Top Ten List

1. Macbeth by William Shakespeare (1606).

2. Hamlet by William Shakespeare (1600).

3. The Iliad by Homer (ninth century b.c.e.?).

4. Moby-Dick by Herman Melville (1851).

5. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky (1866).

6. Absalom, Absalom! by William Faulkner (1936).

7. Ulysses by James Joyce (1922).

8. The stories of Flannery O’Connor (1925–64).

9. The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner (1929).

10. Suttree by Cormac McCarthy (1979).

 

New List

Cathleen Schine

1. Emma by Jane Austen (1816).
2. Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman (1855–91).
3. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy (1869).
4. Phineas Finn: The Irish Member by Anthony Trollope (1869).
5. Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens (1864–65).
6. Quartet in Autumn by Barbara Pym (1977).
7. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain (1884).
8. The stories of  Alice Munro (1931– ).
9. The Makioka Sisters by Junichiro Tanizaki (1943–48).
10. Pictures from an Institution by Randall Jarrell (1954).

Classic List

George Saunders

1. Dead Souls by Nikolai Gogol (1842).
2. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain (1884).
3. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy (1869).
4. Tristram Shandy by Laurence Sterne (1759–67).
5. Hamlet by William Shakespeare (1600).
6. The stories of Isaac Babel (1894–1940).
7. The stories of Anton Chekhov (1860–1904).
8. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut (1969).
9. Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett (1953).
10. On the Road by Jack Kerouac (1957).