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Above the Waterfall: A Novel
Above the Waterfall: A Novel
Above the Waterfall: A Novel
Электронная книга202 страницы3 часа

Above the Waterfall: A Novel

Автор Ron Rash

Рейтинг: 3 из 5 звезд

3/5

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New York Times bestselling author Ron Rash illustrates the life and times of a people forged from violence in this unforgettable story set in modern Appalachia.

As a park ranger trying to escape her dark past, Becky finds comfort amidst the wild beauty of North Carolina. Just three weeks shy of retirement, Sheriff Les is forced to grapple with crystal meth and his own beliefs in his small Appalachian town. When a feisty elderly local is accused of poisoning a trout stream, Les and Becky must work together, fighting through deep and dangerous waters to untangle the unbelievable betrayal made against the natural world. Their powerful ties to the land and each other are thrown into disarray in this story of deception and heartbreak in this achingly beautiful backdrop of contemporary Appalachia. Rash delivers the gorgeous yet uncompromising story with prodigious talent having been hailed “one of the great American authors at work today” (Janet Maslin, New York Times).

ЯзыкEnglish
ИздательHarperCollins
Дата выпуска8 сент. 2015 г.
ISBN9780062349330
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Автор

Ron Rash

Ron Rash is the author of the 2009 PEN/Faulkner finalist and New York Times bestseller Serena and Above the Waterfall, in addition to four prizewinning novels, including The Cove, One Foot in Eden, Saints at the River, and The World Made Straight; four collections of poems; and six collections of stories, among them Burning Bright, which won the 2010 Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award, and Chemistry 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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Рейтинг: 3.1260504201680672 из 5 звезд
3/5

119 оценок19 отзывов

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  • Рейтинг: 3 из 5 звезд
    3/5
    This felt like two books. One was a moderately gritty rural mystery, with some interesting characters, like Gerald, an old man clinging to the past, and C.J, who tried to escape his past and didn't quite make it. The other book had sentences like: "Morning's fawnlight yokes inside dew beads, each hued like a rainbow's hatchling." I never want to read a sentence like that again. The part of the book I liked involved Les, who was retiring as sheriff of a small North Carolina town where the chief businesses are a fishing resort for tourists and drug dealing. There's a mystery involving dead fish and poaching and it could have made a good book. The part of the book I disliked intensely involved Becky, a park ranger, who has a profound, but unexplained, attachment to Gerald. Becky is burdened with not one, but two, traumas in her past. These traumas have absolutely nothing to do with the rural noir part of the book, yet they take up nearly 50% of the book. The Becky parts of the book feature sentences like the one I quoted above and other over-written, pretentious language. I eventually started to skip most of the Becky chapters entirely. This book could have been much better and loses a star (it probably should have lost two stars) because of the Becky chapters. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.
  • Рейтинг: 4 из 5 звезд
    4/5
    This was a quick and easy read, despite some difficult subject matter (domestic terrorism, corporate greed, meth raids, school shootings) and what I felt was a less than successful handling of one character's point of view. Les is the Sheriff of a rural Appalachian community, and he's just a couple weeks away from retirement. He has little time for introspection as he tries to tidy a few things up for his successor, but he is forced to do some soul-searching before he hands in his badge. A man who probably saved his life when they were both teenagers may be losing his job, and it may be partly Les's fault. Becky, a park ranger he has an ill-defined relationship with, is struggling with her own past and with local suspicions about an elderly man she has taken under her wing. Someone has poisoned a creek on the property of a local resort, killing the trout so many people come there to catch; the owner is convinced that Becky's elderly friend is responsible. The story is told in alternating chapters, from Les's point of view, and from Becky's. Becky, in addition to ongoing processing of a childhood trauma, has an affinity with nature and with the poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins. For an extended period the child Becky did not speak, and she spent a lot of time inside herself, so her thoughts may naturally be more abstract than ours, but there was a disconnect between how she thinks and how she speaks as an adult that was too much for me. I recognized bits of Hopkins poems in some of her thought passages, but it all felt like the author was trying too hard. As an interactive character Becky worked very well. But her back story seemed irrelevant to her presence in the story, unlike Les's reflections on his own youth and character. Her part also felt a bit underdeveloped, as though she really deserved a story in which she was the main character. I rather wish Rash had played her as a simpler secondary character in this one, and let her take center stage in another novel, or that he had made this a longer, fuller novel for her sake.January 2016
  • Рейтинг: 5 из 5 звезд
    5/5
    Ron Rash is a masterful writer and this book did not disappoint. His characters are so real and not some Hollywood dressed up characters that would never exist in the real world. The story was very believable and the compelling. Found it hard to but the book down.
  • Рейтинг: 5 из 5 звезд
    5/5

    Above the Waterfall by Ron Rash is a very highly recommended novel set in a small Appalachian town about two lonely people struggling to live with their haunted pasts. It is an eloquently written, poetic novel that is both a tribute to the healing power of nature and a mystery.

    Becky is a park ranger at Locust Creek Park who finds solace in the beauty of the North Carolina mountains. Becky carries many scars from her childhood when she survived a school shooting, and in her recent past when she believed in the wrong man. She finds comfort and peace in nature and needs the natural world to survive. She references heavily the Victorian poet Gerard Manley Hopkins who found beauty in nature as well as the cave paintings of Lascaux.

    Les is a sheriff on the verge of retirement. He is having a cabin built where he plans to retire and paint. He just has a few things to clear up before he goes, like another meth bust (and you never know how things can go wrong with meth-heads) and the truth behind the tension between Gerald Blackwelder, an irascible old farmer, and a new fishing resort. Les has some regrets in his past too that he is trying to deal with, as well as a debt that has never been repaid.

    The novel alternates between the voices of Les and Becky. They are both wounded souls who take strength from observing and being in nature. They are also close friends and are able to speak about their past with each other. They seemingly want to have a closer relationship with each other, and have taken steps in that direction, but they are still reticent to make any real commitment.

    While both voices propel the story forward, Becky's chapters are poetic and lyrical while Les's are written in a more traditional manner. The frank descriptions of meth addiction are brutal. Both Les and Becky have to "navigate currents of disillusionment and betrayal that will force them to question themselves and test their tentative bond..." when dealing with the dispute between the fishing resort and Gerald. Becky is a staunch supporter of Gerald and perhaps his only friend now. Les was friends with an employee for the fishing resort and, as a longtime resident of the town, he knows all the people involved, their past actions, and where to look for answers.

    Disclosure: My Kindle edition was courtesy of HarperCollins for review purposes.
  • Рейтинг: 3 из 5 звезд
    3/5
    There is some undeniably beautiful writing by Ron Rash in 'Above the Waterfall'. Some passages, in particular the ones narrated by the main female character, are downright poetic. I've become a big fan of Mr. Rush's use of the language in the course of one relatively short novel.

    On the other hand, the plot wasn't, at least to me, significant enough to carry the book. I understand there are bigger issues that are touched upon, but the main story line just isn't very deep and the action moves too slowly.

    I'm a fan of great writing, and 'Above the Waterfall' certainly has that. It was just a bit slow for my taste.
  • Рейтинг: 5 из 5 звезд
    5/5
    This story is told in the alternating voices of Les, a longtime sheriff who is about to retire, and Becky, a park ranger. In Les's last few days on the job, he is faced with a meth bust and the poisoning of a local river, and through flashbacks, we learn much about Les and Becky's pasts that shed light on their reactions to current events. The writing is so beautiful that I almost wished I had read this one instead of listening, but the two narrators were excellent.
  • Рейтинг: 2 из 5 звезд
    2/5
    Well. This was readable but not up to the hype which other writers give Ron. Perhaps they were too rash.
  • Рейтинг: 5 из 5 звезд
    5/5
    This is an extraordinary novel, and defies cogent definition. At times it edges towards poetry, yet at other points it plums the depths of small town corruption and the squalor encountered in society’s hidden hinterlands.As the book opens, Les, the sheriff of the unnamed Appalachian town, is due to take his early retirement in the next three weeks, and spends much of his time thinking about his new life to come. Meanwhile Becky, his close friend, is a forest ranger, dedicated to protecting the wild from human encroachment. Both of them have shadows across their past. Becky is also a poet, composing elegiac verse about the wonders of nature that she encounters every day. Les is waging war against the local crystal meth dealers, and each new raid is a further foray into the fringes of hell.Against all this, Gerald Blackwelder, an aging local farmer, finds himself in an increasingly bitter feud with a local resort. Gerald, like Becky, loves all aspects of nature, and is particularly enthralled by the beauty of the trout to be found above a waterfall on the resort’s estate. The resort’s owner is concerned that Gerald’s grizzled countenance has alarmed some of his more urbane guests. Gerald has his own emotional and psychological baggage.Rash’s language is amazing, allowing him to render poetic even the most mundane of actions. His characters are beautifully drawn, and all have their respective failings. Yet Rash does not allow the beauty of his prose to prevent the action fairly fizzing along. This was one of those novels that I was enchanted by, and while I was eager to discover how the plotlines would be resolved, I regretted having finished it as reading it had been simply so enjoyable. Scarcely a paragraph goes by without a beautiful image.
  • Рейтинг: 5 из 5 звезд
    5/5
    It’s difficult to describe how thoughtful, subtle, intricate and compelling this story is. All the characters have their problems and past wounds that contribute to their actions. I won’t summarize, but nature clashes with the messy reality of greed, drug abuse and poor choices. Despite that, Rash writes of a chance for redemption for those that seek it.
  • Рейтинг: 4 из 5 звезд
    4/5
    Ron Rash has always been one of my favorite writers.....no.2 after Kent Haruf and I would rate his books high no matter what, but this book just wasn't up to his usual great writing. . The book jumped from one subject and one person to another and at the beginning of every chapter you had to stop and figure out which character it was. I liked the book but just not as good as Serena or Saints at the River. Still great writing and would recommend it highly.
  • Рейтинг: 3 из 5 звезд
    3/5
    One story my grandfather told me about his days as a sandhog had seemed a tall tale, even to a kid, but later I'd found out it was true. In the years before electricity, what light burned inside the underwater caissons came from candles. At the greatest depths, the pressure was such that the candles wouldn't blow out. The flame would sail off the wick, ricochet around the metal, then resettle on the wick. What my grandfather hadn't told me was that sometimes cables broke and a man would be trapped down there. He'd know the candle was burning up oxygen, and he'd know the flame would not go out, but he'd keep blowing anyway, even with his last breaths, still hoping against hope that, somehow, it might. (Les)I received this uncorrected proof as part of Powell's Indiespensable box this quarter. The story alternates between the perspectives of Les, a retiring sheriff, and his on-and-off-again lady friend Becky, a park superintendent with a dark past. Les has a few loose ends to tie up in the last couple of weeks before his retirement. The mystery of a poisoned trout stream is the case that dominates most of his remaining time. It is a complicated case for Les because the main suspect is Gerald, an elderly man with whom Becky has a deep bond.This is a quiet, slow-moving novel, that suddenly picks up the pace in the second half. The first part of the book is more of a character story, but it becomes a standard whodunit halfway through when the river is poisoned. I greatly preferred Les's chapters over Becky's. Most of her chapters are poetic nature descriptions or flashbacks into her traumatic past. I never really felt like I got a full grasp of her character. The character background stories (Becky with the school shooting and ecoterrorist ex-boyfriend and Les's depressed ex-wife) were threads that weren't completely weaved in and it left me wanting more or even less. I know that the ecoterrorist boyfriend was meant to make the reader and Les doubt Becky as a great judge of character, but I didn't fully get the school shooting connection. It explained her eccentricities, but her strangeness wasn't really integral to the story. I didn't fully grasp the deep connection between Gerald and Becky. I think he may have reminded her of her grandparents, which made her feel a sense of duty towards him. I don't think it was really fully explored or connected. We only see Gerald through the eyes of Les and Becky, but I think he was really well-drawn as as strong, stoic man who has watched the world leave him behind. "That gun was aimed at you a full minute," Jarvis told me later. Your life flashes before you, I've always heard, but it hadn't for me. It was as if I stood in the corner, not so much observing as performing a methodical self-autopsy, not of my body but of my life. I had not been frightened. Instead, I'd felt a calm clarity. Everything inside me, including my heart, seemed suspended, except one thought. What will you miss? A full minute and I'd had no answer. Then the gun was lowered, and I slowly, reluctantly, came back into myself. (Les)Les is a conflicted, flawed person and I felt that he was more well-developed than Becky. Les's main motivation is to set things right before his retirement and to finally be able to answer the question "In the very core of my being, who am I?" in a satisfactory way.Like the pot bribes, Jarvis was letting me know things would be different with him in charge. That was a good thing, but he would learn in time that a sheriff could bend the law for no other reason than what was law and what was right sometimes differed.(Les)The writing itself is very lovely to read. I think it is a credit to the author that I didn't think "Wait, what is this even about?", until I suddenly noticed half of the pages were in my left hand! I really liked the bleak setting and Ron Rash is truly a master at creating the atmosphere of Appalachia. I liked the contrast of the ugliness of man against the serene beauty of nature. The parts about methheads and the river poisoning were the strongest parts for me. The mystery elements were tied up in a satisfying way.I loved the writing and the setting, so I would definitely read another book by this author! I did like this one, it just isn't one of my favorites.Above me that night tiny lights brightened and dimmed, brightened and dimmed. Photinus carolinus. Fireflies synchronized to make a single meadow-wide flash, then all dark between. Like being inside the earth's pulsing heart. I'd slowed my blood-beat to that rhythm. So much in the world that night. (Becky)
  • Рейтинг: 4 из 5 звезд
    4/5
    A rather simple plot compared to many of Rash's other books but filled with memorable characters nevertheless. Becky, her story is written in a kind of surreal style. She has had a tragic past, but is now the ranger at the National Forest and is the friend of an old landowner. C. J. came back to town to take a job and now finds that the job has disappeared, leaving him without support for his wife and sons. Barry, a young police officer who quits after a nasty meth bust. Can no longer bear to look at the damage and the worst that people can do to each other. And a sheriff, good friends with Becky, due to retire in a matter of days. Rash's real genius, however, is in painting a picture of the landscape that is both beautiful and poignant. Every little detail, nothing too small escapes his notice. The love of land that he imparts to many of his characters. Simply wonderful. Alternately he wrote one of the most in your face view of a meth addict, how they live, how little they care about anything but the drug. Such a stark contrast to the beautiful setting of the Blue Ridge Mountains. So many great quotes I could copy but this small line just touched me. "As the storm moves on, rain trickles off the leaves like an afterthought." Simple but lovely.ARC from publisher
  • Рейтинг: 4 из 5 звезд
    4/5
    The best retiring sheriff's lament since _No Country For Old Men_. Uncorrected proof copy from Powell's Indiespensibles. Well worth the time, if at times a bit overwrought. An example:"I sit on ground cooling, soon dew-damp. Near me a moldboard plow long left. Honeysuckle vines twine green cords, white flowers attached like Christmas lights. I touch a handle slick from wrist shifts and sweaty grips. Memory of my grandfather's hands, calluses round and smooth as worn coins."This book shifts between several characters, all written in first person. Several times I had to re-read (short) chapters to figure out who 'I' was.
  • Рейтинг: 5 из 5 звезд
    5/5
    Ron Rash is currently my favorite writer, and "Serena" is still his best work. However, in this fine novel, he moves the reader with even more of the peace and violence and the abundant mystery of Appalachian life. Les is a sheriff, weeks from retirement, and tired of drowning in meth and its victims. Becky is a park ranger who moved to the same small town after a childhood tragedy. Les has suffered his own as well:"More than once I'd imagined a listing on an internet dating site: Man who encouraged clinically depressed wife to kill herself seeks woman, traumatized by school shooting, who later lived with ecoterrorist bomber."Les and Becky are surrounded by mountain beauty and by human frailty and kindness. All the townspeople and their situations ring true. With Ron Rash, there are no false notes ever, just lyrical writing and a strong story."In a country this rural, everyone's connected, if not by blood, then in some other way. In the worst times, the country was like a huge web. The spider stirred and many linked strands vibrated."
  • Рейтинг: 5 из 5 звезд
    5/5
    I have never read a book by this author before, but wow what writing. Poetry in motion combined with the best storytelling results in a fantastic book. A story of bent and broken people making their way through life, with all of the beauty of their surrounding and the ugliness of humanity. This is an exceptional book.
  • Рейтинг: 4 из 5 звезд
    4/5
    Once again Ron Rash has provided a riveting read that pulls the reader into the story with poetic language and strong characterization with an unsettling plot set in contemporary town in the Appalachian region of North Carolina. While the action takes place over a couple of days before the local sheriff retires, the flashbacks, the dialogue and landscape makes the reader feel like they know this time and place. Contrasting the beauty of the landscape and the harsh reality of surviving in a close-knit community where the past and present often live uneasily with each other. Most poignant to me is the exploration of crystal meth on this small community. While we often hear about drugs in an urban environment, much less is noted about meth in rural communities.I have enjoyed all of the author’s books and his gritty storytelling of the Appalachian landscape.