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Nothing Gold Can Stay [Kindle Edition]

Ron Rash
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (81 customer reviews)

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Book Description

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.

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

This collection of stories takes place in small areas in western North Carolina, many dipping into people’s lives that are about to change and staying long enough to see the consequences of their actions or plans. The paths that the people take give Rash the chance to let us get to know their lives and the history of the area, all compellingly told in an even tone. Time moves back and forth seamlessly, resulting in outcomes that, although not always fully revealed, nevertheless feel inevitable. In many of the stories, people who try to leave or change their current circumstances end up worse off. For instance, in “Those Who Are Dead Are Only Now Forgiven,” the story of a town, a house, and kids all hit hard by the bad economy, a couple of high-school sweethearts get all the way up to the financial-aid forms for college before the girl changes her mind. His visits home find her a meth addict, and their world of options diminish. Within the confines of place, the similarities and varieties of the stories make this a wonderful collection. --Lani Smith


“Violence-streaked stories that comprise another fine collection from [Ron] Rash…his oneness with the region and its people makes an indelible impression.” (Kirkus Reviews (starred review))

“Rash’s short stories thematically paint Appalachia not as a definitive place but as a series of many interconnected ways of relating to human and environmental frailty. Another fine addition to the Rash bibliography, and a great entry point for the uninitiated reader.” (Library Journal)

“Rash impresses with clear-eyed, sympathetic writing about flawed and troubled characters.” (Publishers Weekly)

“. . . a wonderful collection.” (Booklist)

“Ron Rash’s fifth story collection, NOTHING GOLD CAN STAY, set in hardscrabble Appalachia, has a tone and temperament like that of his compatriot Eudora Welty, with a twist of Barry Hannah.” (Elle)

“A lovely, essential new collection of stories . . . lyrical and honest, grounded in place yet sweeping in scope. . . . .[Rash’s] prose is elegant, suggestive, and Hardyesque.” (Boston Globe)

“Striking . . . engaging . . . mesmerizing . . . After finishing this collection, one simply just wants to read more of Ron Rash.” (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

“In his new collection of stories, Ron Rash stunningly renders his native Appalachia as an exotic planetoid governed by its own peculiar orbital laws . . . Rash is a fast-rising superstar in the North Carolina literary constellation that includes such luminaries as Michael Parker, Clyde Edgerton and Phillip Gerard.” (Charlotte Observer)

“Crime, with its violence, threads through the butcher’s-dozen of stories in the author’s masterly 14th book, Nothing Gold Can Stay, as inexorably as it winds through the problematic lives of his Appalachian-dwelling characters.” (Wall Street Journal)

“[Rash’s] starkly beautiful prose has mapped the heart and soul of southern Appalachia in a way few writers of his generation can match. . . A splendid new collection. . . shimmering, liquid poetry. . .” (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Nothing Gold Can Stay is a gripping collection, raw and real, that solidifies Rash as a powerful and imaginative storyteller.” (Kansas City Star)

“Ron Rash’s Nothing Gold Can Stay is [his] best book since Serena. Excitingly versatile. . . The stories are united by clean, tough specificity, courtly backwoods diction, and a capacity for sending shivers. (Alfred Hitchcock would have loved the story ‘A Sort of Miracle’).” (Janet Maslin, The New York Times)

A collection of short stories about Appalachia that are actually more like diamonds: cold, glittering, valuable.” (New York Magazine)

“With NOTHING GOLD CAN STAY, Ron Rash cements his reputation as one of the foremost chroniclers of that mythic uber-America known as the South. . . At his best, Rash evokes an understated poignancy that is genuinely affecting. . . (Washington Post)

“Masterfully crafted. The best of Rash’s stories, written in a spare prose style, have an aching lyricism as they chronicle the hard times and hard fall of his characters. The best of the best will haunt the reader long after they’re done.” (Washington Independent Review of Books)

“The stories of Nothing Gold Can Stay are tough-minded, surprising, illuminating even when Rash leaves much unsaid (often the reader comprehends more than the characters can). But no matter when they are set or who they concern, these stories are kin to each other.” (Miami Herald)

“Mesmerized by Ron Rash’s new NOTHING GOLD CAN STAY. Short stories that play on for a long time in your mind.” (Scott Simon, NPR)

“[Rash] bears comparison to the world’s truly great story writers—particularly Nathaniel Hawthorne for the gothic horrors that lie in the human heart and Anton Chekhov for his unflinching eye and his ability to capture a character in a single gesture.” (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

“Each of the stories in this collection comes to life under the power of Rash’s muscular way with words...The author creates a slice of life so authentic you can hear the rushing water and see the falling tears.” (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Product Details

  • File Size: 465 KB
  • Print Length: 261 pages
  • Publisher: Ecco; Reprint edition (February 19, 2013)
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0089LOJVI
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #189,900 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars SHORT STORIES AT THEIR BEST February 19, 2013
Stories to celebrate for the beauty of their telling are found in the latest collection by noted American author Ron Rash. There are fourteen brief tales in all and one wishes for more as with keen insight and unerring eye the author paints unforgettable word portraits. His subjects are flawed characters capable of both violence and tenderness. Rash's setting is the Appalachians, where the land is rugged but beautiful as are his characters. With the voice of a poet this author allows us to be privy not only to aspirations but also to thoughts and hearts. Memorable reading.

"The Trusty" is the opening story and it's a grabber as one unshackled member of a chain gang is assigned to find and fetch water. He finds that and more in a farmer's young wife whom he charms into eloping with him. He schemes to take advantage of the innocent woman's knowledge of the territory to lead him to safety. But finds she's not so innocent after all.

In "Cherokee" a young couple hopes to get lucky, lucky enough to win so they can pay the balance owed on their truck. Danny has heard of a young woman from Franklin who won $20,000 on a quarter slot machine. So, "With a green rabbit's foot clipped on his belt loop, a silver four-leaf clover dangling from his neck," Danny and Lisa head for Harrah's Casino.

"A Servant Of History" introduces Wilson, a naive Brit who sets out to find "ballads lost to time in Britain" still alive somewhere in the Appalachian Mountains. What begins almost as a comic tale quickly turns dark when Wilson begins bragging about his half-forgotten Scottish ancestors to the wrong people.

Choose a favorite story from "Nothing Gold Can Stay"? Impossible! Each is a gem polished by Rash's elegant minimalist prose. As the London Times wrote, "..this is the great American short story at its best."


- Gail Cooke
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, Intriguing and Often Surprising July 30, 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I enjoyed each and every one of these stories. Ron Rash has a way with words and his stories are interesting, intriguing and often surprising.

In The Trusty, a prisoner gets loose and with the help of a woman he sees his way to freedom only to have things turn on him in the end.

In Cherokee, Danny goes to a casino hoping to win enough money to pay off his debt. He and his wife check in to the hotel and Danny carefully plays the slot machines.

A man who considers himself a 'Servant of History' looks into the etiology of songs. His search for these beginnings ends up turning around and harming him.

Those Who Are Dead Are Only Now Forgiven was one of my favorite stories in the collection. A college student is in love with Lauren who has turned into a meth-head. He tries to free her from her addiction but ends up giving himself to her and her demons.

The Dowry is another of my favorites. A family is totally against the marriage of their daughter and is about to kill her fiance when a pastor steps in to make things right and evens up the score.

All of the stories have panache and I read them aloud to my husband as we were driving. It was great to hear the words spoken and to share the book with someone else. It is a welcome addition to Rash's repertoire of works and I plan to read his other short stories soon. For those of you who enjoyed 'Serena', these stories will not be disappointing.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Wizard of Western Carolina March 11, 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Ron Rash's short stories stir the mind to, and renew my perception of, the lower classes in the South, their mindset and ills, like no other writer has. Anais Nin said, "What we are familiar with we cease to see. The writer shakes up the familiar scene, and, as if by magic, we see a new meaning in it."

Ron Rash is a magician then. He's a wizard who, without resorting to stereotypes, writes honestly, and for the most part realistically, about depressing subjects while maintaining, perhaps unintentionally, an optimistic air, or Hope. In a short story, he connects you to the character(s) in a way that's rare. One that struck me particularly hard was "The Ascent" in his collection, "Burning Bright: Stories," about a typical 5th grader whose parents are meth-head scavengers from whom he wishes to fly away.

I purchased "Nothing Gold Can Stay" after reading reviews for this and prior books by Ron Rash. Since I've read this, I've bought and read his other short story books (the ibooks) "Burning Bright: Stories" and "Chemistry and Other Stories." I have enjoyed nearly every story in each volume, even the ones that seem to me somewhat far-fetched like "A Sort of Miracle," with Baroque and Marlboro, in "Nothing Gold..." I get a rush as I start each new story and find nearly every one of them provocative of folks and places and what-nots I've known growing up in the Deep South. For short story collections, you can't beat that. I highly recommend this and the other 2 mentioned above.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ...TO ALL THOSE IN THE DARK ADRIFT AND ALONE ... June 16, 2013

What a gift Ron Rash always bestows upon us, his readers. While his novels ONE FOOT IN EDEN, SERENA, and THE COVE, just to name a few, are wonderful, so are his short stories.

This book consists of fourteen of some of the best written short stories ever done. Set in Appalachia, we are introduced to some of the most diverse characters, bizarre situations, dark and eerie accounts, and honest to good reading.

A few of my favorites include ~~

THE TRUSTY -- A prisoner on a chain gang is sent to tote water back to others; he finds a young and innocent bride who seems to be as much of an inmate as he. A plan is hatched and truths are laid open. Things don't turn out as one would expect.

A SORT OF MIRACLE -- Brothers-in-law take an adventure in the woods on a freezing cold day, looking for a medical solution. Again, plans are made, the situation changes, and nothing is ever the same again. Should we turn left or should we turn right?

These are only two out of the fourteen; I can honestly say that I did enjoy every one of these short stories. Rash has the talent of not only writing an excellent story, but sometimes letting the reader draw his/her own conclusion as the story comes to an abrupt halt. I like that --

His characters are always fleshed-out and utterly realistic and he knows his way around the human heart and soul.

I read this book in a few hours time and loved every minute and every word. If you are a lover of good fiction, true to life situations and characters, shedding a few tears, and enjoying some of the best short stories ever written, this is the book for you.

My many thanks to HarperCollins Publishers for an advanced copy of NOTHING GOLD CAN STAY. The opinions stated above are definitely my own.

Thank you!!

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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A Book to Revisit
Very fine collection of short stories. If you are from Appalachian or a rural area, you'll enjoy this book. I have reread favorites already, and expect to revisit this book often.
Published 21 days ago by BHS
5.0 out of 5 stars Take a bite and chew all day.....
This guy, Ron Rash can write.....he has a very interesting stylet, I want to say it has an O'Henry style....but more subtle..... Read more
Published 25 days ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Read it for "Something Rich and Strange"
Each of these fourteen stories is a compelling read: once you start, you have to read to the end. They're not all equally captivating, but one -- "Something Rich and... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Jane
3.0 out of 5 stars The writing was great and Rash is a great writer
The writing was great and Rash is a great writer, but for some reason it didn't light things up for me. However, with that said what a craftsman. There is not a word out of place. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Eric Otto
3.0 out of 5 stars Not all gold
Nothing Gold Can Stay starts strongly before trailing away to weaker works that give the impression they were initially sketches for some grander project, recrafted to fill this... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Vern Skags
4.0 out of 5 stars Riffing on Appalachia
These stories are good, but I feel like I've read some of them before in his other books of stories. His novels are much better.
Published 2 months ago by Mothlove
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Ron Rash... Brilliant
Published 2 months ago by E. Katzenstein
4.0 out of 5 stars Most of the shorts published in other books
Beware of course all are good. Of course all are superbly written.
But more than 90% of them appear I other Rash collection s, which is unnerving.
Published 3 months ago by Bordeaux Dogue
5.0 out of 5 stars Slap my mama, this is good!
I grew up in the mountains of North and South Carolina. Mr. Rash's works just really hit home (npi) with me. Nothing Gold Can Stay is no exception.
Published 4 months ago by F. BOOTH
4.0 out of 5 stars A book club pick
I enjoy Ron Rashes writing.
Published 4 months ago by Elizabeth
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More About the Author

Ron Rash is the author of the 2009 PEN/Faulkner Finalist and New York Times bestselling novel, Serena, in addition to three other prizewinning novels, One Foot in Eden, Saints at the River, and The World Made Straight; three collections of poems; and four collections of stories, among them Burning Bright, which won the 2010 Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award, and Chrmistry and Other Stories, which was a finalist for the 2007 PEN/Faulkner Award. Twice the recipient of the O.Henry Prize, he teaches at Western Carolina University.

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