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).

 

Classic List

Chris Bohjalian

1. The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri (1321).
2. Ulysses by James Joyce (1922).
3. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens (1860–61).
4. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy (1877).
5. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (1925).
6. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (1960).
7. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë (1847).
8. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain (1884).
9. Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison (1952).
10. Les Misérables by Victor Hugo (1862).

New List

Laila Lalami

1. Waiting for the Barbarians by J. M. Coetzee (1980).
2. Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison (1977).
3. A Man of the People by Chinua Achebe (1966).
4. The Lover by Marguerite Duras (1984).
5. For Bread Alone by Mohamed Choukri (1973).
6. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood (1986).
7. A House for Mr. Biswas by V. S. Naipaul (1961).
8. Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison (1952).
9. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez (1967).
10. Love Medicine by Louise Erdrich (1984).

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