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Booklist Starred Review – November 15, 2014
This collection of 34 stories by the poet and fiction writer of best-sellers Serena (2008) and The Cove (2012) is set in the mountains of Virginia and North and South Carolina. Often compared with Flannery O’Connor, Rash is the master of his craft and a recorder of Appalachia, bringing emotional, historical, and geographical truths to the fore. Ties of family, by birth, marriage and choice, feature strongly in these stories, which range from rip-your-heart-out sad to the patently ridiculous. In “Shiloh,” Benjamin Miller deserts the army after his first battle and returns home to face an unbearable situation. “The Night the New Jesus Fell to Earth in Cliffside, North Carolina,” narrated by a churchgoing woman whose ex-spouse is a snake-oil salesman, demonstrates, in a most hilarious manner, how modern-day hubris can (most satisfactorily) trip said husband up. The poet in Rash comes out in every story, in language so choice that even his shortest stories pack a serious wallop. “Hard Times” depicts, in fewer than 11 pages, both the tolerance built into a long-term marriage and the brutality of life in the mountains during the Great Depression. Readers will want to read slowly, dipping into the contents judiciously to extend the pleasures of this stunning collection.
— Ellen Loughran

Associated Press - November 3, 2014

“For those unfamiliar with the beautiful and searing short stories of Ron Rash, Something Rich and Strange is a generous, well-timed introduction…. Rash's stories tell in crisp, gripping prose the emotional travails of life on the Appalachian outback… [His] short tales from Civil War days resonate with a human dimension both poignant and fearsome... Powerful and beautifully told.”


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