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Ron Rash's short stories stir the mind to, and renew my perception of, the lower classes in the South, their mindset and ills, like no other writer has. Anais Nin said, "What we are familiar with we cease to see. The writer shakes up the familiar scene, and, as if by magic, we see a new meaning in it."
Ron Rash is a magician then. He's a wizard who, without resorting to stereotypes, writes honestly, and for the most part realistically, about depressing subjects while maintaining, perhaps unintentionally, an optimistic air, or Hope. In a short story, he connects you to the character(s) in a way that's rare. One that struck me particularly hard was "The Ascent" in his collection, "Burning Bright: Stories," about a typical 5th grader whose parents are meth-head scavengers from whom he wishes to fly away.
I purchased "Nothing Gold Can Stay" after reading reviews for this and prior books by Ron Rash. Since I've read this, I've bought and read his other short story books (the ibooks) "Burning Bright: Stories" and "Chemistry and Other Stories." I have enjoyed nearly every story in each volume, even the ones that seem to me somewhat far-fetched like "A Sort of Miracle," with Baroque and Marlboro, in "Nothing Gold..." I get a rush as I start each new story and find nearly every one of them provocative of folks and places and what-nots I've known growing up in the Deep South. For short story collections, you can't beat that. I highly recommend this and the other 2 mentioned above.