Nothing Gold Can Stay: Stories by Ron Rash
I haven’t read a book of short stories for a long time, and on the suggestion of a patron I read this book. The nice thing about short stories is if you don’t like the story, it will soon be over and you can go on the next one. Conversely If you like the story it often ends too quickly or abruptly and you are left wondering what happened to the characters. I liked all of these stories set in the Appalachian region of America and spanning a large time period, from the Civil War to present day.
When you start reading each story you have to tease out when it takes place. But when you come to certain words, like “Vietnam” or “Iraq” or “Shiloh” that gives you a clue as to the time period and maybe the theme of the story. Underlying all these stories is a glimpse of hidden pain or misfortune that is endemic among the Mountain poor. As the London Times wrote “This is the great American short story at its best.”