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Nothing Gold Can Stay: Stories

really liked it 4.0  ·  Rating Details ·  1,867 Ratings  ·  326 Reviews
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 bea
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published February 19th 2013 by Ecco (first published January 1st 2013)
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B. R. Reed Lucy tuckered the trusty out and made him lose his sense of direction. They returned to a spring where the trusty had drank before (handprint in…moreLucy tuckered the trusty out and made him lose his sense of direction. They returned to a spring where the trusty had drank before (handprint in sand). Chet, Lucy's husband, was digging a grave for the trusty and shot him dead at the end. A murder for a few bucks. Hard times in the mountains. The country folks a little smarter than the trusty figured.(less)
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Community Reviews

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Will Byrnes
Oct 30, 2012 Will Byrnes rated it it was amazing
The title of Ron Rash’s fifth short story collection, Nothing Gold Can Stay, comes from the chestnut poem, with the same title, by Robert Frost.
Nature’s first green is gold
Her hardest hue to hold
Her early leaf’s a flower
But only so an hour
Then leaf subsides to leaf
So Eden sank to grief
So dawn goes down to day
Nothing gold can stay
It is one of only two three poems I have memorized in my life (the others being Sandberg’s Fog and a classic limerick having to do with Nantucket, thanks for the remin

man, ron rash is good.

of all the people who write that appalachia-desperation stuff i eat up with a spoon, his writing is just head and shoulders above his peers. he is both muscular and fragile, with a blink-and-you-miss-it quietude. for short stories to have this much depth and impact that they simply haunt the is quite impressive.

these stories span time and theme, although there are elements that recur: escape, regret, nostalgia, yearning...the typical themes of this kind of liter
What is memory but near and far events spread and smoothed beneath the present's surface.

There is darkness lurking in the mountains and hills of the human heart. Darkness that can bring a person to their knees, to commit unspeakable acts, darkness enough to drown a life in meaningless oblivion. What is more moving, more deathly beautiful, than to embrace these dying embers into prose to swallow like a bitter pill. ‘Every junky is like a setting sun,’ sang Neil Young about life that is both beaut
Dec 24, 2012 Brian rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

One of the reasons short fiction is my favorite genre is the requisite economy of words an author must employ. A virtuoso can make you feel all of the unsaid things; fleeting djinns seen with peripheral vision that may/not be there. My solid measuring stick of fantastic writing is reaching the end of a story and getting that unsettled just what the fuck is going on here feeling - a sensation that can come from something genre-stretching from Ben Marcus as much as a writer penning a piece in a cl
Aug 05, 2015 Sandra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Sandra by: Will Byrnes
Pretty dark short stories, Rash' style.

Rash is a master in telling short stories. I think he might be even outshining himself compared to his novels. He can set a scene without too many words like no other, and eventhough many of his characters are just doomed to begin with, still they manage to enlighten their lives (and the reader's) a little bit, just to be thrown back into the abyss right after again. Some dark humor comes into play, but most often it is the despair, hope or love of the char
Feb 25, 2015 Marianne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“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
Aug 20, 2014 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Trustees, Englishmen in Appalachia, ex-Union soldiers courtin' a Confederate colonel's daughter
I like me some gritty Southern fiction now and then, and Ron Rash delivers, though he's not quite Daniel Woodrell or William Faulkner, at least not yet. But this collection of sixteen short stories was very listenable, very varied and flavorful, and while not quite popping 5-star greatness for me, it satisfied my yearning so I will definitely check out more by him.

All set in the Appalachians, these are stories are about hard, surviving mountain people. They range from a post-Civil War story abou
Okay, it's official: Ron Rash is a literary genius.

But seriously, Ron Rash is a literary genius, at least in my book. This collection of short stories will not disappoint Rash's fans and is sure to earn him some new ones.

Though I thought all the stories were quite strong, I especially enjoyed reading "Something Rich and Strange" which served as the inspiration for his novel Saints at the River.
Feb 20, 2013 Lou rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
When you think of this authors writings you rekindle a great canvas dealing with memorable characters pitted into diversity with very human dilemmas, you have a great landscape as the backdrop, the characters just come alive, live, and breath off the page with his own crafted ability to spin a tale with a terrible beauty, a potent language, a prose evocative and lush, darkly poetic and a cast of characters with flaws like many humans on this earth. This collection has all these qualities mention ...more
Apr 07, 2013 Trish rated it it was amazing
”Water has its own archeology, not a layering but a leveling, and this is truer to our sense of the past, because what is memory but near and far events spread and smoothed beneath the present’s surface.”

The gorgeous hardcover edition of a new collection of stories by Ron Rash produced by Ecco Books made me pick it from among the mass of new books on a shelf. I’d never read anything by Rash before, but I so regret the lack of attention that enabled me to overlook this master until now. I exhort
Diane S ☔
Sep 21, 2012 Diane S ☔ rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 These stories have such a strong atmosphere of the Appalachians, which is of course whatRash 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 happen ...more
Sep 07, 2013 Dianne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Excellent collection of short stories set in Appalachia from the Civil War to the present. I read his book "The Cove," which I enjoyed, but I liked this even better. The stories are all very different but they are beautifully written, vivid and imaginative. I especially liked "The Trusty" but all are memorable.

Very well done - highly recommend, especially to fans of short stories.
Jul 17, 2013 Vanessa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Solid 4-star collection. A fabulous collection of stories about ordinary, small-town people spanning several decades (one dating back slavery in the south, some set in present day) caught in moral dilemmas or facing a fateful judgment. If O. Henry and Flannery O'Conner had a love child, it would be Ron Rash.

Above all these stories felt real to me. By that I mean, there wasn't always a bow on the final page to tie things up nicely, because that's not what life is really like. Ron Rash seems to
Jul 07, 2014 Snotchocheez rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

A solid collection of short stories by Ron Rash, all set in his native North Carolina. If you haven't read any of his fiction, this is probably a good place to start. Plenty of variety in the 14 stories: from chain-gang escapees to oxycontin and meth addicts, set from the post-Civil War era to modern day. There were five or more stories that were great; among those, Night Hawks, about a female former sixth grade school teacher who lands a job as a night shift deejay at a local radio station afte
Jul 15, 2013 Hanneke rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wat is Ron Rash toch een ongelooflijk goede schrijver. Deze verhalen zijn weer in zijn geheel eigen stem geschreven, melancholiek en vol compassie, maar nooit bitter. Geen zin valt uit de toon, alles stroomt als muziek. Sommige verhalen gaan door merg en been, zoals 'The Magic Bus'. Ik houd van Ron Rash, dat is zeker.
Larry Bassett
Apr 30, 2014 Larry Bassett rated it really liked it
It always seems strange to get a book that is only a year old for 99 cents online. And it is nice when the book is as good as this one by Appalachian regional writer Ron Rash. His short stories are dependably weird and sometimes a bit grim but I have now read enough of his work – poetry, novels, short stories – to feel comfortable with him just about all the time. I especially like his kind of offbeat writing in his short stories because it does not seem so important to fully understand each one ...more
Oct 31, 2013 Josh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
Ron Rash is a talented writer. I love his perspective. The settings and vantages in this collection of stories run the gamut; civil war run away slaves to modern day meth cooks. All taking place in the edge of Western North Carolina that I think of as "home away from home". Taken individually, there are some gems in there. Taken as a collection I wish I would have read in sips rather than straight through.

Some of my favorites were The Trusty, Something Rich and Strange, The Magic Bus, and Three
Nov 30, 2015 LeAnne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Terrific, beautiful set of stories that have a much broader set of characters and time frames than his other collections. These are probably his best, in my opinion, and you'll find little homages to poetry here and there (even in the title). For avid Rash fans, a painting by Hopper makes its appearance just as one does in "Waterfall," and the story which either led to or was extracted from "Saints at the River" is here, but with its focus on the rescue diver.

Yes, there's that angst over meth w
Mar 20, 2013 Melissa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mmmm, beautiful. It's been ages since I've been able to sit down with a wonderful book of short stories & just ignore my whole family (sorry guys!) for a few hours. The first two stories are unfortunately the weakest in the book if you ask me, but if you've got a little stick-to-it-ive-ness in you, you're in for a real treat. I look forward to more Ron Rush someday when my gigantic to-read pile at home isn't threatening to teeter over & possibly smoosh any short people who might be in th ...more
Dec 20, 2015 Jessica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So, so, so good. Makes me feel dumb for always trashing contemporary short fiction.
Sarah Ryburn
My goodness, these stories are good. I love Ron Rash's writing, as anyone who know me knows about me. I've read and enjoyed three other collections of his stories before this one, but Nothing Gold Can Stay seems more fully realized, somehow, as an expression of Rash's style and artistry. I don't know if others who love his writings would agree with me about this, but I feel this idea strongly as though it were more a matter of emotion than thought. As a collection the stories are more finely dra ...more
Jul 04, 2014 Sasha rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Here's the thing about short stories: as soon as I become invested in one, it ends. So annoying! This led me to shun short story collections for many years. Recently I got over my prejudice and hopped back on the wagon, and have enjoyed many great works. Unfortunately, after reading Nothing Gold Can Stay, the frustration has returned ten-fold - because Ron Rash's writing is just THAT amazing. I will continue to devour his novels and stories like a starving animal until I've reached the end of th ...more
David Ward
Nothing Gold Can Stay by Ron Rash (Harper Collins Publishers 2013) (Fiction) is a very well done collection of short stories by my absolute favorite contemporary Southern voice. Nobody, and I mean nobody, can tell a story like Ron Rash. The author once again centers this collection of stories in the mountains of western North Carolina. The gems of this volume include "The Dowry" (intransigence after the Civil War), "The Magic Bus" (the 1960's counterculture comes to the Blue Ridge), "A Sort of M ...more
Jun 01, 2014 Erika rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
These incredibly beautiful stories have the nourishing power of a great meal. So many of Rash's characters are filled with pain and regret that's expressed with such keenness and subtlety all I could was read in astonishment. There's a description of a teenager drowning that is nothing short of brilliant and in another story, a man watches a pond being drained and by the end of that simple task, the tension is almost unbearable.
This is a wonderful collection.
Dec 22, 2013 Autumn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ron Rash is the master of the modern South. He so effortlessly captures the despair, isolation, fear, and grit of the people who live in this region. Even though the stories are easy to breeze through, take the time to reflect on what he said--the tales are rich in historical, biblical and cultural themes that reveal his character's natures.
For a most excellent review of this book and the stories and links to reviews and interviews, see Will Byrnes review - His review is superb and I am with him on just about everything.

I do, however, have a different favorite story. His is Night Hawks; mine is Twenty-Six Days. So let me just say a bit about my favorite. It concerns the parents of a young soldier with only 26 days left in her Afghanistan tour. When she's done, she's done - her tour is over
Dec 05, 2015 Cat rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I discovered this book because of the Malaprop's Bookstore "blind date" system: they wrap books in brown paper and write a description on the outside in Sharpie. You pick a description you like and buy the book. It was all very exciting (yes, this is the kind of thing I find "very exciting"; I'm a bookworm who is easily amused), and the description I received was this: "lovely, haunting, lyrical, honest, grounded, elegant, suggestive, powerful, brilliant" (only in all-caps, which I am loath to r ...more
Jan 13, 2016 Nick rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
When, as with "Nothing Gold Can Stay", I have a lukewarm reaction to something everyone else seems to love, I think it only courteous to see what other people have to say before opining. And so I did with this collection of short stories by Ron Rash, my only experience with his writing. I see the quality of the writing in dialogue and narration, and I am ordinarily a champion of writing that explores an underrepresented region from whatever part of the globe it comes. But Rash's Appalachia too o ...more
May 27, 2013 Rick rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love short stories for the power they have to say so much in so few words. And Rash is a master of the short story. I know this because of the impact the stories in this book had on me. Some were so depressing or unsettling that I just had to set the book aside for several days before I was comfortable enough to reenter it. All captured the feel of his native Western North Carolina, in the words he chooses, in the way he puts them together, in the things he describes and the feeling that he ev ...more
Make that 4 1/2 stars. How did I make it this far in my life before discovering Ron Rash? Now I want to read all of his books.

This collection of short stories centers around the people of Appalachia, though the time periods vary.

The very first story, "The Trusty", is one I'm sure will stick with me for a long, long time. Set in Depression-era North Carolina, it follows the effort of a prisoner to escape his chain gang by enlisting the help of the innocent young farm wife who supplies water to
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Ending in THE TRUSTY 2 18 Apr 07, 2014 04:22AM  
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Ron Rash is the author of the 2009 PEN/Faulkner Finalist and New York Times bestselling novel, Serena, in addition to three other prizewinning novels, One Foot in Eden, Saints at the River, and The World Made Straight; three collections of poems; and four collections of stories, among them Burning Bright, which won the 2010 Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award, and Chemistry and Other St ...more
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“Water has its own archaeology, not a layering but a leveling, and thus is truer to our sense of the past, because what is memory but near and far events spread and smoothed beneath the present's surface.” 5 likes
“Jody had watched other classmates, including many in college prep, enter such a life with an impatient fatalism. They got pregnant or arrested or simply dropped out. Some boys, more defiant, filled the junkyards with crushed metal. Crosses garlanded with flowers and keepsakes marked roadsides where they'd died. You could see it coming in the smirking yearbook photos they'd left behind.” 4 likes
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