Books & Books, Coral Gables. April 27, 2012. 8:00 p.m.
“One of the best American novelists of his day” (Janet Maslin, New York Times) and 2010 winner of the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award (considered the world’s most prestigious story prize) Ron Rash is a writer of extraordinary power and grace. As he displayed in his New York Times bestselling, Serena, a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award, this masterful writer brings a mythic lyricism to his work, imbuing the lives of his rural characters with fierce yearnings and stoic pride. Rash’s much-anticipated new novel, The Cove takes readers back to World War I with a haunting story of love, courage, honor and deceit.
Laurel Shelton lives a lonely life in the Appalachian Hills. Branded a witch by her neighbors because of a prominent birthmark, Laurel’s only companion is her brother, Hank, who has recently returned home, having lost an arm in the trench warfare of France. Laurel’s life changes forever when she saves a stranger from a near-fatal accident. Mute, and carrying all of his belongings on his back, the stranger owns little more than a silver flute and a note explaining that his name is Walter and he is bound for New York. Walter stays on, insinuating himself into life on the small farm and into Laurel’s heart. But when Laurel stumbles upon Walter’s true identity, she immediately realizes the danger they have placed themselves in. Amid empty patriotic fervor, stoked by an ambitious army recruiter named Chauncey Faith, Laurel and Walter must skirt far more than fear and ignorance to avert tragedy.
“Every novel I’ve written has begun with a single image that I cannot get out of my mind,” explains Rash about the impetus for his new novel. “The Cove began with the image of a young woman peering through the branches of a rhododendron bush and seeing a bedraggled man playing a beautiful silver flute. The image arose after researching some local history every bit as amazing as anything a fiction writer could make up. I’d known about Japanese internment camps during World War II, but during World War I there were German internment camps, one of which had been located in western North Carolina. Among those Germans were men employed on the Vaterland, an ocean luxury liner that, at the time, was the largest ship in the world, more opulent than even the Titanic.”
Ron Rash, who has been called the “Bard of Appalachia,” was raised in Boiling Springs, North Carolina. His family has lived in the southern Appalachian Mountains since the mid-1700s. Rash made his first serious attempt at creative writing as a student at Gardner-Webb University and then Clemson University. Since then, his love and deep appreciation for the Southern Appalachians has launched him into a spectacular literary career. He joined the faculty of Western Carolina University in 2003, coming back to his family’s homeland in the mountains, where he currently serves as the Parris Distinguished Professor of Appalachian Studies.
This event is presented in collaboration with The Center at Miami Dade College.
Books and Books
265 Aragon Avenue
Coral Gables, FL 33134