A Year in Reading: Ron Rash

December 17, 2014 | 2 books mentioned

coverI’ve read several excellent novels this year, including Marilyn Robinson’s justly acclaimed Lila, but the novel that truly dazzled me was Richard Flanagan’s The Narrow Road to the Deep North. The writing throughout is superb, and at times so vivid that I felt unmoored from my own world and completely in the author’s. The questions the novel tackles are the big ones, including what are the best and worst of what we humans can be, or become. Flanagan’s book blasts apart the canard that realism in fiction is played out. The Narrow Road to the Deep North is not a perfect novel, but I believe it is a great one. As J.M. Coetzee says of the fiction that truly matters, “it is the battle pitched on the highest ground.”

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is the author of the 2009 PEN/Faulkner Finalist and New York Times-bestselling novel Serena, in addition to four other prizewinning novels, including One Foot in Eden, Saints at the River, and The World Made Straight; four collections of poems; and five 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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