peteg's blog

Ron Rash: Nothing Gold Can Stay

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Rash always gets solid write ups in the New York Times. Here is Janet Maslin on this one. Every story parks us in North Carolina, often the Appalachians, the odd nod to Chapel Hill and education. Almost all are, at heart, get-the-eff-outs, and that's not something I need to read more about. On the positive, I was pleasantly surprised by his reference to The Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy as some kind of must-read for those coming of age, though it comes in an uninspired tale of youthful intellect squandered by drug addiction. The last — Three A.M. and the Stars Were Out — broke the mold and was therefore the most successful. Elsewhere Rash is unfailing in technique but merely toying with variations on tired themes, and all the drop-you-in-cold introductions and twisty endings can't make up for that. (For instance, Something Rich and Strange struck me as a complement to one of Raymond Chandler's well-mined pieces. But maybe that's all that comes to mind about dead girls in rivers. And Bruce Springsteen canvassed similar escapist, wastrel topics as this collection from his more-northerly vantage.)

I didn't realise that Rash wrote the original material and the screenplay of Serena, which got universally panned.