For our sophomore effort, Jane will take you into the strange world of Ron Rash's The Cove, released just two weeks ago:
Brimming with mystery and intrigue, Ron Rash prepares the reader for an enigmatic journey. With an Appalachian backwoods locale, this sinister, dank cove harbors many stories of death and misfortune. The villagers of Mars Hill, North Carolina, like the Cherokee of years past, avoid the cove and anyone connected to it. Rash masterfully creates this lonesome, overgrown place, where nothing good is expected to happen.
Laurel Shelton, raised in the cove, is a lovely young woman, unfortunately doubly ostracized because of her home and a birthmark, which others see as the sign of a witch. Shunned and shamed, Laurel has survived a tortuously lonely year grieving her father and waiting for her brother, Hank, to return from World War I. Hank comes home minus one hand and proceeds to work the farm into shape, even with one hand. With plans to marry within the coming year, Hank will be leaving Laurel on her own, once again.
One day Laurel hears what she thinks may be a Carolina parakeet and follows its sound, only to discover a young man, playing a flute. Fascinated by this discovery, Laurel secretively brings food to this lone, seemingly mute young man. Eventually, Laurel risks bringing "Walter,"as she calls him, to meet her brother. An excellent worker, as well as a professional musician, Walter in invaluable in helping Hank restore the farm. Wondering all the while who this stranger really is, how he wandered upon their land, Laurel and Hank know enough to keep his presence to themselves.
All the while, Chauncey, a banker and military recruiter, is on the trail of anyone or anything German. Trying to seek the glory of an enlisted man,
Chauncey is blinded by his own reflection. He sees himself as the courageous one, as he convinces young innocents of Mars Hill to join the army. A year before the sinking of the Titanic, a larger, German-owned vessel, the S.S. Vaterland, anchored in the New York Harbor. This piece of history deeply affects the environs of THE COVE and ignites action in citizens like Chauncey along the Carolina coast.
The intersection of these vividly crafted lives results in a poetic narrative of love and war, one that palpably touches the reader. If you haven't experienced the depth and flow of Ron Rash's prose, you are in for a wonderful treat of compelling story and sharply etched characters, whose efforts to survive travel far beyond hope!
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