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Something Rich and Strange: Selected Stories

4.24  ·  Rating details ·  1,560 ratings  ·  260 reviews
From the critically acclaimed, award-winning author of Serena and The Cove, thirty-four of his finest short stories, collected in one volume

No one captures the complexities of Appalachia—a rugged, brutal landscape of exquisite beauty—as evocatively and indelibly as author and poet Ron Rash. Winner of the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award, two O. Henry prizes,
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ebook, 448 pages
Published November 4th 2014 by Ecco
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Paul Cockeram The narrator lived his whole life, from that original encounter with the woman in the pond until the pond was drained, fearing that her boyfriend had…moreThe narrator lived his whole life, from that original encounter with the woman in the pond until the pond was drained, fearing that her boyfriend had killed her and sunk her body beneath the water. But when the pond was drained, he discovered her body was not there, that she had not been murdered; only her abusive boyfriend's wallet and jacket ended up beneath the water. The narrator's fears were unrealized, and the fish his friend harvested had never fed from human flesh. (less)

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4.24  · 
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 ·  1,560 ratings  ·  260 reviews


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Julie Christine
“Sense of place is the sixth sense, an internal compass and map made by memory and spatial perception together.”
― Rebecca Solnit, Savage Dreams: A Journey into the Landscape Wars of the American West

In Something Rich and Strange, a collection of thirty-two previously published and two new short stories, Ron Rash demonstrates this sixth sense, this sense of place, to shiveringly acute degree. His place is the mountains and valleys of southwestern North Carolina, the heart of Appalachia.

Rash's st
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Dianne
Oct 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: best-of-2015
A collection of the best Ron Rash short stories - I had read quite a few of these before, but enjoyed reading them again. If you haven't read Ron Rash yet, this collection or Serena are great places to start.

Sheer perfection.
karen
Sep 24, 2014 marked it as to-read
a true story of what just happened:

this book landed on my desk.

OH MY GOD A NEW RON RASH AND IT'S HUUUUUGE BEST DAY EVER I AM GOING TO GO HOME RIGHT NOW TO READ IT AND NO ONE CAN STOP ME!!!

then:

HEY, WAIT A MINUTE!!!

dawning realization.

these are..... OLD STORIES!!!!!

sigh.

still happy, but quite deflated.
not going home right now to read it.
☮Karen
Apr 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to ☮Karen by: Cathrine ☯️
3.5 stars

Thirty-five or so selected short stories by the most eloquent writer, Ron Rash, spanning a century or more of life in Appalachia. But it's about so much more, as it tackles love and marriage, hate and pride, meth and other drugs du jour, the Civil War and Vietnam Nam, and I could go on and on. In the first 10 minutes alone, it had me cringing, not once, but twice. And then it had me laughing as well, or at times putting me nearly to sleep, and even scratching my head at some of the endi
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Straw
Nov 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
All I want to do is find Mr Rash, have coffee, and make him tell me stories all damn day long.
Trish
Ron Rash is too good to miss. If you aren’t familiar with his name, you must read a story or two, just so that you know his style, his subject. He writes about the Carolina Blue Ridge Mountain section of the Appalachians and his subjects are the wide range of mostly forgotten folks who live there, out of common view. We recognize them—their needs, resentments, their motivations—instantly though we wouldn’t claim to be them.

This is a collection of thirty-two stories culled from earlier works plus
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Larry Smith
Nov 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: adults, college students
Ron Rash is often billed as a “Southern” or an “Appalachian” writer, and it’s true that he writes from the heart of a place and its people, but this should not confine him, any more than Faulkner is confined by Mississippi or Hemingway by Upper Michigan. It’s not a box, then, but an open window into his work and world. True, he chooses to live in Western North Carolina where he grew up and now works, teaching at Western Carolina University, but his is very much a contemporary American writer.

He
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Erica
This is my first ever encounter with Ron Rash and that's only because karen made me do it.
I mean, I've known who the guy is for years. I work in a library, after all; I just never felt the need to read any of his stuff. But karen's always, "i love this dude!" (paraphrasing) so I figured, I'm always up for knowing how karen ticks a little better. I should read this anthology of short stories and that will get me up to speed!
And now I realize I've really been robbing myself of some good literature
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Lynn
Oct 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I'd read quite a few of these in other collections but they were even better the second time around. I wanted to savor these and read them as in-between treats, but I couldn't leave them alone. Oh well, maybe I'll gain self-control in my next reread.
Peter
Dec 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm glad I'm not a writer. Reading Ron Rash would make me give up. Not since Flannery O'Connor has someone been able to invoke a sense of place with such deceptively simple prose. Amazing.
Elizabeth
Mar 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Ron Rash is a national treasure.
READ HIM.
Judi
Mar 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is my first exposure to Ron Rash's writing. He may end up being one of my favorite authors. I am a fan of well done short stories and he certainly has the gift. I can relate to the time lines of many of these stories and the ambiance of the small town South. My Dad's family is from rural Tennessee. I found this collection of Ron Rash's work engaging. I have his novel "One Foot In Eden" up as my next read.
Kiwi Begs2Differ  ✎
This book contains a large number of already published material, so the reader who is already familiar with Rash’s works and has read his previous story collections Burning Bright and Nothing Gold Can Stay: Stories will find many favourites here. For a newbie it would be an excellent introduction to a master storyteller.

Rating of the ones new to me:

Where the maps end 3.5 stars
Those who are dead are only now forgiven 3 stars
Their ancient glittering eyes 3.5 stars
The magic bus 3.5 star
Something r
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Cathrine ☯️
Oct 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing

I first discovered Ron Rash’s writing when I read his novels, and then followed with Burning Bright, a selection of his short stories. Not a fan of shorts, I was completely captivated by each tale set throughout the region of Appalachia. The haunting stories and Mr. Rash's exceptional talents as a writer have stayed with me. I was excited to begin this new compilation, only to discover that there are only two new stories in this book, as the rest were previously published, including selections f
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sappho_reader
Dec 07, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: the-dirty-south
Spectacular. Something Rich and Strange is Ron Rash's latest collection of short stories. He expertly captures the hardscrabble life and physical landscape of North Carolina, often in the region of Boone. Each story is unique, poignant and never ordinary. These vignettes of ordinary people living on the cusp of folklore and modernity have captured my heart and imagination.

Most of these stories aren't new; I've already read many in Nothing Gold Can Stay, but I have found that they stick with me l
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Sue
Mar 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Author Ron Rash, it seems, is a mountain boy. Some of his marvelous stories are set during the Civil War, some in the Depression, and some as recently as yesterday, or perhaps this morning. The commonality is the setting in Appalachia, mostly North Carolina.

I am always leery of reading short stories in collections. Each story seems to fade as I move on, too quickly, to the next one. That wasn’t a problem this time. This collection is held together, gracefully, by its fealty to region. As I savo
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Ellie Pojarska
Nov 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Ellie by: New York Times
If, like me, you feel that you do not fully understand the contemporary American South--having never lived or traveled there--there is probably no better way to feel the pulse of the place than through Ron Rash's exquisitely lyrical prose and gut-wrenching stories of life in Appalachia. Covering a broad spectrum of underrepresented characters--from drug addicts to families in the throes of poverty--the thirty-four stories in this collection provide tangible proof for the ability of literature to ...more
Larry Bassett
As good a three-star book as you will find!

If you have read other Ron Rash short story collections, this one will have a lot of repeats for you. That's not all bad. A lot of his short stories are definitely worth reading again. But I have to say there are also several stinkers in this book. Yes, one star stinkers! So for me that brings it down to a three star average book. The one stars were trite and hokey. But the five stars were brilliant! I would also give a few stories two stars because I d
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JoAnne Pulcino
Feb 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
SOMETHING RICH AND STRANGE

Ron Rash

Short stories are not my typical reading choice, but I would read anything by one of my very favorite authors, Ron Rash.

Ron Rash is a master craftsman with an artistry surrounding the Carolina Blue Ridge mountain section of Appalachia. This same artistry encompasses the exquisite beauty of the landscape and the almost sixth sense of his ability to portray the heart and soul of the people and the land.

He has captured me as a icon in his craft and majesty of ordi
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Margaret
I am not a fan of short stories or at least I thought I wasn't; that is I never gave a book of short stories a chance because I assumed that I wouldn't like it. I loved this book so much that I am planning on owning my own copy! I listened to the audio read by Christian Baskous and he brought the stories to life by his accents and gift of intonation. I recommend listening to the audio if you are able to get ahold of it.

Many of the stories were my favorites and the period of time ranged from the
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David Joy
Nov 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
With the sharpest stories of a career now honed into a single collection, I've found the one book I would take with me on a deserted island. Ron Rash is simply a master of the short story form. There are few, if any, writing stories this well crafted. He'll always be mentioned in the context of his novels, but the reality is that its his poetry and short stories where we see him in his element. Rich. Beautiful. One of America's finest.
Jess
Nov 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful. With each story I'd forget it was a short and then be hit by disappointment when it ended so soon. The way he writes about North Carolina, I would be so absorbed, so there that I was disoriented when interrupted.
Kathleen
Jan 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Every single story--every single one of the 34--is wonderful.
Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.)
A short-story collection that will kick your butt! It is so unfair, and so cliche, to compare Ron Rash's fiction to Cormac McCarthy's; and while I can understand people doing that, it is wrong on so many levels. Rash has his own voice and has his own muse. This particular collection is amazing and the stories span the 19th through the 21st centuries. There are thirty-four stories here and thirteen of them were absolute showstoppers for me.

When I wore a younger man's clothes I 'pooh-poohed' short
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Jeanette
Feb 20, 2015 rated it liked it
For those who like short stories this is a collection that will not bore you. There is sharp language, often in dialect (Southern Appalachian) but never, for me, difficult in connotation. Action and description are imbedded in all of these, it's the very skeleton in the story. Things happen, the lives and occurrences run the gamut of severity but few to none of them are seated in a frame of think piece philosophy or lyrical abstract kinds of writing. We never doubt the real life or seriousness o ...more
Chris
Feb 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-stories
At his worst, Ron Rash is writes characters I've never seen elsewhere that breathe with full life and sets them in situations I recall vividly months later. At his worst.

I read this book piecemeal over the course of a year, always expecting that I would forget the details of the earlier stories, but perhaps the best tribute to this collection is that--every time I turned to the Table of Contents--the details of each story hit me forcefully and at once.

Sure, his endings are occasionally too tid
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Shaun
Jan 11, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sometimes I wish we had the ability to award a 1/2 star more. This is not a four star book, more like 4 1/2 stars. Very few "clunkers" -- "Night Hawks" and "Return" and "Where the Map Ends" and "The Magic Bus" -- were my least favorite. The rest were good or excellent; simply put, some of the best short story writing I have seen come along in years with the exception of "Redeployment" which won the NBA for fiction. Had this collection of short stories been released six months earlier, I suspect ...more
Helene
Jul 10, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This, not Nothing Gold Can Stay was really supposed to be my Christmas present. It had gotten a great book review on NPR and so was selected. The local bookstore was out and so I got the other one instead, with this one on order. It may be a best of because, having just read the one book, ten of the thirty four stories were taken from it.

Though the writing is fine-tuned and elegant, I'm really not a fan of short stories. These are mostly dark and if they convey a true sense of Appalachia, then I
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Heather
Mar 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
Wow. A deep dive into the culture of the Appalachian region, via this strong collection of fictional short stories by Ron Rash. Rash nails the language, the hope, the apathy, the characters and their all-too-realistic motivations. I savored a few stories each day until I worked my way through the entire book. "Something Rich and Strange" is the title of the collection, and also the title of a short that Rash turns into a book, Saints at The River. It was interesting to read the preliminary versi ...more
Denise K.
Sep 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
Some great stories in this collection, which was recommended to me by a fellow writer and Ron Rash fan. My personal favorites were the one about the boy who escaped his meth-addicted parents by sitting in the remains of a plane wreck, and the one about the corpse bird. (Yes, as you all know, I like dark stuff.) Rash's prose is clean and clear, yet his stories and themes still come across as complex -- a talent I really respect. Often, writers are either great at creating page-turners or great at ...more
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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
“She had not remembered then what she remembers now, a memory like something buried in river silt that finally works free and rises to the surface...” 2 likes
“He’d watched the old man live his life “by the signs.” Whether a moon waxed or waned decided when the crops were planted and harvested, the hogs slaughtered and the timber cut, even when a hole was best dug. A red sunrise meant coming rain, as did the call of a raincrow. Other signs that were harbingers of a new life, or a life about to end. Boyd was fourteen when he heard the corpse bird in the woods behind the barn. His grandfather had been sick for months but recently rallied, gaining enough strength to leave his bed and take short walks around the farm. The old man had heard the owl as well, and it was a sound of reckoning to him as final as the thump of dirt clods on his coffin. It’s come to fetch me, the old man had said, and Boyd hadn’t the slightest doubt it was true. Three nights the bird called from the woods behind the barn. Boyd had been in his grandfather’s room those nights, had been there when his grandfather let go of his life and followed the corpse bird into the darkness.” 0 likes
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