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The Cove: A Novel by Ron Rash
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The Cove: A Novel (2012)

by Ron Rash

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Showing 1-5 of 44 (next | show all)
The cove, believed to be cursed land, is nestled within the Smokey Mts near Mars Hill, Tenn. Hank and Laurel Shelton, brother and sister, have work a family farm near the cove ever since their parents died. Laurel who was born with a large birth mark has always been shunned, local residents believing that she was a mountain witch since she was born with the mark of the devil. One day, shortly before the end of WW1, Laurel rescues a vagabond found unconscious in the cove stung by a swarm of yellow jackets. When she takes him to their cabin to heal him, she also takes into their home the man's secret, which will tear the local community apart.
Ron Rash continues to develop beautiful examples of Southern literary fiction. He has been likened to notable authors such as John Steinbeck and Cormac McCarthy. I found myself easily transported into this book and the life of its characters. The author was adept at building suspense toward the novel's climax. If you have never read Ron Rash, what are you waiting for? ( )
  John_Warner | May 24, 2018 |
I just have to accept the fact that I don't enjoy this author's writing style. No matter how many glowing reviews his books get, I need to stop trying to read them. ( )
  fhudnell | Mar 29, 2018 |
The Cove by Ron Rash

Rash specializes in the Appalachian mountains for his setting. In this novel a brother and sister, Hank and Laurel, try to carve out a life keeping their farm in working order after the death of both parents. Hank lost an arm in the War and his sister is often shunned in town because of a misunderstood birthmark. Then a stranger shows up in their woods and while Laurel spies on him she realizes that he is close to death after multiple wasps bites. She gets him home and begins to care for him in multiple ways. He appears to be mute, but willingly lends a hand , helping Hank mend fences and even digging a well. It is not until they have grown close and even slept together that Laurel finds out that the medallion she once discovered identifies Walter as a German, one of the 2500 Germans who were interned when war broke out. It seems the ocean liner, the Vaderland, was in the harbor in New York, Walter being part of the orchestra, when WWI broke out. The people on the boat were sequestered in Hot Springs, N.C. during the war. Walter escapes with intentions to go back to NYC but when he sees his wanted poster advertised at the Railroad station, he decides to go back to Laurel and try to ride out the war, disguised as a mute but talented flute player. Since the opening prologue creates a mood of abandonment and death, the tragedy of the narrative is foreshadowed. Rash uses terse, descriptive writing that will keep me looking for more from this author.

Quotes from the author:
"part of what I love about fiction is the attempt to embody another consciousness very different from one’s own; I see this empathy as akin to what the best literature always does—remind us that as human beings we are more alike than different."

"in many ways I see The Cove as a very dark fairy tale. Certain elements—such as a brother and sister alone in a haunted wood, a stock villain, the silver flute, even the epigraph—were an attempt to summon such a reading." ( )
  novelcommentary | Feb 6, 2018 |
The time is World War I, and Laurel is living with her veteran brother, who has lost an arm, in an isolated backwater in the Appalachians, shunned by the superstitious townsfolk because of her birthmark. She finds a man hiding in the woods who cannot speak and takes him in. Of course, he is harboring a secret. Rash's writing here is lovely, which helps disguise the fact that not much happens in this slim book. In fact, the story feels a bit contrived, moving slowly but inexorably toward its inevitable conclusion, which I didn't much care for. A pretty book, but not a terribly impactful one. ( )
  sturlington | Dec 19, 2017 |
This book got better and better the further along I read. Initially, I was a little disappointed and didn't think I'd like it but by the end I was truly enjoying it and didn't want to put it down. This is the second Rash book I've read....I think not the last. ( )
  lynnski723 | Dec 31, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 44 (next | show all)
Rash develops his story masterfully; the large cast of characters is superbly realized, as is the xenophobia that accompanies the war, and Rash brings the various narrative threads together at the conclusion of the novel with formidable strength and pathos. Essential for fans of literary fiction.
added by Christa_Josh | editLibrary Journal, Patrick Sullivan (Oct 15, 2011)
 
The Cove is nevertheless a powerful novel, with some of the mysterious moral weight of Carson McCullers, along with a musical voice that belongs to Rash alone.
 
But “The Cove” is a less intricate, nuanced book than “Serena,” perhaps because it is tethered to a real and freakish historical occurrence.
 
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Epigraph
Her eyes were open, but she still beheld, Now wide awake, the vision of her sleep. - John Keats, "The Eye of St. Agnes"
Dedication
For my sister Kathy Rash Brewer
First words
The truck's government tag always tipped them off before his Kansas accent could.
Quotations
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
The paperback edition (Canongate, Edinburgh, London) includes a note from the author dated 10 June 2012 on what appears to be p. xiii - indicating that it is a revised version of the hardcover edition: "...two chapters and a number of additional paragraphs are not present in this edition...I have rteturned to an earlier version, one which focuses on the grief not the grievances...returning Chauncey Faith to minor character status..."
ISBN 9 780857 862624 - paperback
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Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
Deep in the rugged Appalachians of North Carolina lies the cove-a dark, forbidding place where spirits and fetches wander, and even the light fears to travel. Or so the townsfolk of Mars Hill believe-just as they know that Laurel Shelton, the lonely young woman who lives within its shadows, is a witch. Alone except for her brother, Hank, newly returned from the trenches of France, she aches for her life to begin. Then it happens- a stranger appears, carrying nothing but a beautiful silver flute and a note explaining that his name is Walter, he is mute, and he is bound for New York. Laurel finds him in the woods, nearly stung to death by yellow jackets, and nurses him back to health. As the day pass, Walter slips easily into life in the cove and into Laurel's heart, bringing her the only real happiness she has ever known. But Walter harbors a secret that could destroy everything-and danger is closer than they know. Though the war in Europe is near its end, patriotic fervor flourishes thanks to the likes of Chauncey Feith, a petty and ambitious young army recruiter who stokes fear and outrage throughout the county. In a time of uncertainty, when fear and ignorance reign, Laurel and Walter will discover that love may not be enough to protect them. (ARC)
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0061804193, Hardcover)

Amazon Best Books of the Month, April 2012: Hank and Laurel Shelton live in a lonely Appalachian valley, on the same broken homestead where their parents toiled and died years before. Locals shun Laurel for her witchy birthmark, and Hank struggles to maintain the farm without a hand he lost in the Great War. When a mute stranger arrives, both (especially Laurel) allow themselves hope for a future outside the cove, away from small-town superstition and wartime fervor. But whose skull is that in the well?

In the lyrical prose that won him such acclaim with Serena, Ron Rash washes this novel's languid spaces with bucketfuls of atmospheric dread, pushing his characters into the currents of their fate with determined empathy. Murky and deliberate, The Cove solidifies Rash as master of modern Southern Gothic. --Jon Foro

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:00 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Living deep within a cove in the Appalachians of North Carolina during World War I, Laurel Shelton finally finds the happiness she deserves in Walter, a mysterious stranger who is mute, but their love cannot protect them from a devastating secret.

» see all 7 descriptions

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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