One Foot in Eden

One Foot in Eden

4.6 7
by Ron Rash
     
 

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Will Alexander is the sheriff in a small town in southern Appalachia, and he knows that the local thug Holland Winchester has been murdered. The only thing is the sheriff can find neither the body nor someone to attest to the killing. Simply, almost elementally told through the voices of the sheriff, a local farmer, his beautiful wife, their son, and the sheriff's…  See more details below

Overview


Will Alexander is the sheriff in a small town in southern Appalachia, and he knows that the local thug Holland Winchester has been murdered. The only thing is the sheriff can find neither the body nor someone to attest to the killing. Simply, almost elementally told through the voices of the sheriff, a local farmer, his beautiful wife, their son, and the sheriff's deputy, One Foot in Eden signals the bellwether arrival of Ron Rash, one the most mature and distinctive voices in Southern literature.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“A classic tale of passion and tragedy. Each voice rings as true as the sound of an ax in the cold early morning air.” —Lee Smith, author of The Last Girls

“Equal parts vintage crime novel and Southern Gothic, full of aching ambivalence and hard compromises, and rounded off by bad faith and bad choices, One Foot in Eden is a veritable garden of earthly disquiet.” —Los Angeles Times

“Ruggedly beautiful...Reading Rash's tale is like listening to a plaintive mountain ballad about a time and place long vanished: the lyrics are sweet and mournful, wistful and dark. And, oh, does One Foot in Eden linger!” —The Charlotte Observer

“Rash's characters have a heroic quality as they struggle to fill the empty spaces in their hearts. They also have a poetic intensity.” —The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

One Foot In Eden is a story of wild, almost primitive force and yet it is neatly and ingeniously put together. Ron Rash knows to the core the ways of those who yearn for what is just beyond their grasp. Here is a lasting experience.” —Fred Chappell, Poet Laureate of North Carolina

“Ron Rash writes like a prince!” —Pat Conroy

One Foot in Eden is a forceful but never forced narrative. Rash moves his tragedy along with great authority, revealing motives that build to the complexity of each character as well as our fascination with them and the outcome of their lives. It is a finely polished novel.” —The Columbia State

“If you are a fan of writers such as Robert Morgan, Lee Smith and Fred Chappell, you'll be pleased to know they liked this novel and wrote glowing jacket notes. And no wonder: One Foot In Eden could have been written by any of these authors....Save yourself a nice stretch of time for this book. Once you start it, you will find it extremely hard to put down.” —The Anderson Independent

“In this fine, passionate work, Rash combines a murder mystery with the occasion of the flooding of a South Carolina Appalachian valley by Carolina power. The story of One Foot In Eden is simple, elemental. The conclusion has the force and inevitability of real tragedy...a tragedy that occurs in the ancient, brooding mountains of the Southern Appalachians.” —Don Noble, Alabama Public Radio

Publishers Weekly
Rash's moody, potent slice of Southern gothic fiction centers on a murder and its devastating effect on a small Appalachian town in the 1950s. When Holland Winchester, local troublemaker in tiny Seneca, S.C., vanishes without a trace, it's up to town sheriff and WWII veteran Will Alexander to search for answers. Holland's mother claims to have heard a gunshot, and she insists that neighbor Billy Holcombe killed her son. Events unfurl slowly and methodically, and it's soon revealed that Billy's pregnant wife, Amy, had been having an affair with Holland. Shifting from Sheriff Alexander's narration, the story continues in Amy's voice as she recounts her frustration with Billy's sterility and her increasingly desperate need to bear a child. An impulsive visit to a spell-weaving widow for advice proves to be Amy's downfall when she's told that if her husband can't give her a child, she should "lay down with a man who can." The ensuing drama of infidelity, jealousy and betrayal is told by a chorus of characters with distinctive Appalachian voices: chief among them are Amy, Billy and Amy's young son, Isaac, whose discovery of the identity of his real father is both heartbreaking and liberating. As the valley is flooded to make room for a power company's land takeover, further tragedies unfold. Poet and short story writer Rash writes lyrically while maintaining the suspense of the central mystery. As each character reveals his or her secrets, the tale builds into a quiet storm-and a terrific first novel. (Feb. 2) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Know primarily for his poetry, Rash won the 2002 Novello Festival Press Literary Award for the manuscript of this compelling first novel (it was first published in a limited edition by the Novello Festival Press). The plot combines a love triangle and a murder mystery. From the beginning, readers know who done it and, soon enough, why; the mystery is in the disappearance of Holland Winchester's body. Rash uses this plot device successfully by dividing the novel into five sections, narrated by the sheriff, the wife, the husband, the son, and the deputy. Each perspective reveals more about the characters and their motivations and actions while permitting Rash to explore significant themes of love, infidelity, revenge, justice, and fate. Besides delving into the minds of the murder victim, Holland Winchester, and married couple Billy and Amy Holcombe, the conversations divulge the thoughts and superstitions of various family members, neighbors, and the local witch to create the Appalachian South immediately after World War II. Rash pulls the reader into this world with colloquial dialect and lyrical descriptions of a way of life that has disappeared. Recommended for public libraries, especially libraries with Southern literature collections.-Cheryl L. Conway, Univ. of Arkansas Lib., Fayetteville Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780312423056
Publisher:
Picador
Publication date:
01/03/2004
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
224
Sales rank:
81,575
Product dimensions:
5.49(w) x 8.19(h) x 0.58(d)

Meet the Author


Ron Rash is the author of the prize-winning novels One Foot in Eden, Saints at the River and The World Made Straight, as well as several collections of poetry and short stories. He is the recipient of an O. Henry Prize and the James Still Award from the Fellowship of Southern Writers. For Saints at the River he received the 2004 Weatherford Award for Best Novel and the 2005 SEBA Best Book Award for Fiction. Rash holds the John Parris Chair in Appalachian Studies at Western Carolina University and lives in Clemson, South Carolina.

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