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Nothing Gold Can Stay: Stories

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  2,405 ratings  ·  403 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
ebook, 256 pages
Published February 19th 2013 by Ecco
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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 sand)…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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Average rating 4.01  · 
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Will Byrnes
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 rem
Dec 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Aug 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
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 rated it it was amazing

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 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
Paul Secor
It hurt to read these stories.

I had to read these stories.

Fred Shaw
Aug 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ron Rash's prose is beautiful. Nothing but Gold Can Stay, is a book of short stories, with settings in Appalachia, and time frames ranging from the Civil War to present. Rash does not write psycho thrillers or violent murder mysteries. He does not need heart stopping events to keep the reader immersed in the story. He writes about life, hope, lust, failure, friendships and hardships. His characters seem like someone you've known or maybe want to know and his descriptive writing allows me to see ...more
Feb 25, 2015 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
Diane S ☔
Sep 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
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.
May 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars. Only reason I'm not giving it a 5 is a couple of the stories did not interest me and were DNF. The bulk of the stories are 5ers, though. While I still have trouble with some of Rash's endings (SO oblique), the stories are beautifully written and the characters are so deftly drawn, I can still enjoy line, if not the last one. He is one of the best American writers to capture the South and the Appalachian region. You can tell he truly cares about the down-and-out folks he creates. We ag ...more
”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
Aug 20, 2014 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
Feb 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Larry Bassett
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
Sep 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
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.
J.K. Grice
Oct 03, 2017 rated it liked it
This is not a bad book from Rash, but I just didn't feel the collection was that memorable. The first story was by far the best.
Jul 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Jul 07, 2014 rated it really liked it

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
Dec 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
So, so, so good. Makes me feel dumb for always trashing contemporary short fiction.
Oct 31, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
LeAnne: GeezerMom
Nov 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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 rated it really liked it
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 the area. ...more
Dec 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
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.
Nov 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: story-collection
“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.” 

As most of my book pals know, I love short fiction, so why has it taken me so long to read the short stories of Mr. Rash? Great question, with absolutely no acceptable answer.
Well, I have remedied that oversight and this collection is a knockout, which landed squarely in my wheelhouse.
Most o
Sarah Ryburn
Mar 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
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
Jul 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Jun 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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.
Vince O'Neil
Dec 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I can’t say enough good things about Ron Rash. His writing is so raw and powerful. This collection of short stories was no exception. Usually in short story collections I find myself liking some but not all. Not so with this one. Everyone was great, obviously some stood out more than others but not a bad one in the bunch in my opinion.
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Ending in THE TRUSTY 2 20 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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