I heard someone on the radio rave about Rash, so I got a couple of his novels out of the library to try out. I started with Serena, a chilling story set in timber camps in the emerging USA frontier. I liked it well enough, beautifully written.
Then I read The Cove, and I was blown away by Rash's ability to tell a story, briefly and poetically. The Cove of the story is a narrow, godforsaken, shadowy valley where Laurel and her brother Hank live. Their parents have died tragically, Hank was injured in WW2 and has returned to patch up the farm so he can sell it and get married. Laurel is ostracised by the people of the nearby town because she has a birthmark and is seen as unlucky because of it and the fact she lives in the Cove.
One day she finds a stranger in the forest who is mute but plays the flute to communicate. Events develop, lives and fates are changed. The pace quickens and you try and rear back from the inevitable precipice you fear they are all going to go over. Superbly written. Not a happy ending, but those are highly overrated!!
Give Ron Rash a go, he is a poet who has written four novels beautifully. Great turn of phrase and handling of language.
For those who like Cormack McCarthy or Thomas Eidson, you will be familiar with the style and beauty of stories like this.