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Serena: A Novel (P.S.) Paperback – September 29, 2009
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"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover," illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Learn more
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“Beautifully written, utterly unforgettable. To my mind, this novel, as powerful and inexorable as a thunderstorm, is as good a piece of fiction as was published last year and a new classic in the category of love gone terribly wrong.” (Anna Quindlen)
“A gorgeous, brutal writer.” (Richard Price, bestselling author of LUSH LIFE)
“Ron Rash’s SERENA will stand as one of the major American novels of this century. It is a flat-out masterpiece-mythic, terrifying, and beautiful.” (Lee Smith)
“From the moment she steps off the train, Serena Pemberton commands center stage in Ron Rash’s rough-hewn tale of unchecked ambition. Universal in scope, frightening in its brutality, Serena is an unflinching vision of blighted souls played out against the backdrop of a nearly-lost Appalachia.” (David Wroblewski, New York Times bestselling author of The Story of Edgar Sawtelle)
“[Rash] has outdone himself. The story of this brilliant, ambitious, seductive woman is a searing tragedy of Shakespearean proportions—or, in simpler terms, a damn good book that will keep you awake far too late and, well after you’ve finished it, haunt your dreams.” (Julia Glass, National Book Award winning author of THREE JUNES)
“A powerful tale, well told, SERENA is enriched by Rash’s artful use of language. With just the right turn of phrase, dead-on details and subtle use of symbol, he delivers a story that will remain with readers long after the final page.” (Charlotte Observer)
“Beautifully written…” (Seattle Times)
“The opening is unforgettable…the last hundred pages are thrilling…should be a breakthrough for this masterful storyteller.” (Kirkus Reviews (starred review))
“An Appalachian retelling of Macbeth, a thriller, a word-perfect evocation of an era and a people, a grim chapter in the history of conservation: if Serena doesn’t finally win Ron Rash the overdue attention of the national literary (and cinematic) establishments, I can’t imagine what they’re holding out for.” (Arthur Phillips, author of Prague)
“This is a must-read novel.” (About.com (Contemporary Literature))
From the Back Cover
A New York Times notable book of the year
Award-winning and New York Times bestselling novelist Ron Rash conjures a gothic tale of greed, corruption, and revenge with a ruthless, powerful, and unforgettable woman at its heart, set amid the wilds of 1930s North Carolina and against the backdrop of America's burgeoning environmental movement.
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The first is a literary exploration of nature, logging, human obsession and one woman’s need for dominance. This side of the novel is full of gorgeous writing, subtle metaphors and tensions derived from the character’s relationships. Five stars.
The second Serena is more of a thriller. There’s a lot of murder and good vs. evil plot points. For me, these parts of the book were ridiculously melodramatic, unrealistic and hollow. One star.
The two Serenas attract two different types of readers. Many reviews, including this one, seem to be from one reader-type slamming the aspects of the novel they didn’t like. Without even seeing the movie, I would bet that it suffers from the same problem—it’s neither an art film nor a thriller.
Serena was published in 2008 and since then Rash’s seems to have gone in a more literary direction as seen in his stunning collection of short stories, Nothing Gold Can Stay.
Pemberton recalls his relationship with Rachel Harmon, remembering her youthful beauty, how she served him at the camp and harbors his first thoughts of the child. Jealous, Serena hatches a plan to rid the competition.
Pemberton and Serena plot and scheme their way to acquire forested land for their logging business, allowing nothing to deter plans, including murder. Serena rules the men with an iron fist. Pemberton becomes wary of her and though ruthless himself, is unaware of all her schemes.
Good verses evil in this fascinating story of well drawn characters and well managed plots, with many unexpected twists and turns.