Saints at the River
By Ron Rash
A major new Southern voice emerges in this novel about a town divided by the aftermath of a tragic accident--and the woman caught in the middle
When a twelve-year-old girl drowns in the Tamassee River and her body is trapped in a deep eddy, the people of the small South Carolina town that bears the river's name are thrown into the national spotlight. The girl's parents want to attempt a rescue of the body; environmentalists are convinced the rescue operation will cause permanent damage to the river and set a dangerous precedent. Torn between the two sides is Maggie Glenn, a twenty-eight-year-old newspaper photographer who grew up in the town and has been sent to document the incident. Since leaving home almost ten years ago, Maggie has done her best to avoid her father, but now, as the town's conflict opens old wounds, she finds herself revisiting the past she's fought so hard to leave behind. Meanwhile, the reporter who's accompanied her to cover the story turns out to have a painful past of his own, and one that might stand in the way of their romance.
Drawing on the same lyrical prose and strong sense of place that distinguished his award-winning first novel, One Foot in Eden, Ron Rash has written a book about the deepest human themes: the love of the land, the hold of the dead on the living, and the need to dive beneath the surface to arrive at a deeper truth. Saints at the River confirms the arrival of one of today's most gifted storytellers.
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About the AuthorWinner of an NEA poetry fellowship, Ron Rash is the author of the prize-winning novels One Foot in Eden, Saints at the River and The World Made Straight, as well as several collections of poetry and short stories. He is the recipient of an O. Henry Prize and the James Still Award from the Fellowship of Southern Writers. For Saints at the River he received the 2004 Weatherford Award for Best Novel and the 2005 SEBA Best Book Award for Fiction. Rash holds the John Parris Chair in Appalachian Studies at Western Carolina University and lives in Clemson, South Carolina.
"A compelling novel...Rash tells his story with subtlety and with the best kind of empathy." --The Wall Street Journal
"Captivating...Rash's clear, concise prose and regional voice add an authentic veneer to this rich tableau of Southern life." --Entertainment Weekly
"Ron Rash writes like a prince." --Pat Conroy
"Maggie is an ideal observer from the center for things. Her knowing voice carries us through this sad, complex, and beautiful story." --Time Out (New York)
"Rash's clean prose and love for the land easily carry this book to its conclusion, providing readers with a powerful ending that is both surprising and well earned." --The Charlotte Observer
"Shows [Rash's] versatility and chutzpah...Rash's prose... has a peculiar headlong drive akin to that of hard-boiled detective novels--the best sort." --The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
"Fluid...Rash's prose sparkles....He does the best thing a writer can do: entrench the reader in a scene." --Greensboro News & Record
"Gripping...Spare, resonant, unputdownable." --Kirkus Reviews (starred review)