Nothing Gold Can Stay: Stories
From Ron Rash, PEN / Faulkner Award finalist and New York Times bestselling author of Serena, comes a new collection of unforgettable stories set in Appalachia that focuses on the lives of those haunted by violence and tenderness, hope and fear—spanning the Civil War to the present day.
The darkness of Ron Rash’s work contrasts with its unexpected sensitivity and stark beauty in a manner that could only be accomplished by this master of the short story form.
Nothing Gold Can Stay includes 14 stories, including Rash’s “The Trusty,” which first appeared in The New Yorker.
Of students, was quiet, the only sound the gurgle of the aquarium. He would never speak to anyone, not even his wife, about what happened in the classroom’s stillness, but that evening he told the sheriff he’d dive for the girl again. Days passed. Rain came often, long rains that made every fold of ridge land a tributary and merged earth and water into a deep orange-yellow rush. Banks disappeared as the river reached out and dragged them under. But that was only surface. In the undercut all.
“There’s an easier way,” Lucy said quietly, “one where you don’t need the truck, nor even a road.” “I never figured you to be the know-all on prison escapes.” “There’s a trail on the yon side of that ridge,” Lucy said, nodding past the field. “You can follow it all the way to Asheville.” “Asheville’s at least thirty miles from here.” “That’s by the road. It’s no more than eight if you cut through the gap. You just got to know the right trails.” “Which I don’t.” “I do,” she said. “I’ve done.
Took a milk pail from the porch. As she came down the slope onto parkway land, Sabra saw that it wasn’t two women but a woman and a man, both with long hair. The woman, who didn’t look much older than Sabra, wore a loose-fitting brown dress made of soft leather. She wore no bra or makeup, but her neck was adorned with strands of beads. The man was older. He wore a red bandanna, ragged blue jeans, and a green army shirt with cutoff sleeves. A button pinned on the shirt’s lapel said Feed Your.
Down the dirt road. He hands me my Coke and opens a white bag containing his drink and hamburger. We sit under the tree. “It’s draining good now,” he says. The fish not inhaled by the drain are more visible, fins sharking the surface. A catfish that easily weighs five pounds wallows onto the bank as if hoping for some sudden evolution. Wallace quickly finishes his hamburger. He takes the burlap sack and walks into what’s left of the pond. He hooks a finger through the catfish’s gills and drops.
If someone didn’t say something, Mr. Ponder might start crying right in front of us. Donnie asked if he’d brought back anything from the war. Like souvenirs, I mean, Donnie stammered. That’s when Mr. Ponder said he guessed you could call them that and Donnie asked if he’d like to show us. After a few moments, he said maybe we should see them and we went into the front room. A battered footlocker was between the TV and couch, and Mr. Ponder took some magazines off the top and opened it. Donnie.