The Cove

Zip The Cove RON RASH another quietly wonderful book from ron rash about a couple of outcasts trying to grab a little happiness out of a life filled with loss and loneliness this one takes place in

Zip The Cove RON RASH!!another quietly wonderful book from ron rash, about a couple of outcasts trying to grab a little happiness out of a life filled with loss and loneliness.this one takes place in north carolina during WWI,in a remote and "gloamy" cove, where a brother and sister live isolated by superstition and circumstances. the sister,laurel, has a large purple birthmark believed by the entire outlying town to be a sign of witchcraft,and the cove where the two reside is believed to be haunted. after their parents died, the two of them lived alone until hank went to war, where he lost a hand (view spoiler)[ HE NEVER THOUGHT HE'D MISS A HAND SO MUCH!!(hide spoiler)], leaving laurel completely cut off from human contact and deeply lonely. there is only one man in town they can call a friend; the rest cross the street or spit when the two have to go to town for supplies. the heroism clinging to hank after his experience in the war has mitigated his situation somewhat,and people begin to treat him less shabbily, but laurel has no chance - she is doomed to solitude and loneliness, isolated in this presumably haunted cove.until a mute and illiterate traveling flute-player loses his way in the cove, gets stung by a million bees, and is nursed back to health by laurel.as he recovers, and is able to help hank with the farm chores hank's single hand is inadequate to perform alone,he and laurel form a bond. and laurel gets her chance at happiness.this being ron rash, the happiness is not guaranteed - there are going to be a lot of complications. i guessed the "twist" part just by reading what will be the flap copy, but i don't think that matters. this isn't about the reveal,(view spoiler)[ (hide spoiler)], but about laurel's struggles to carve out a place for herself when she has been given so few options.it is also about birds. birds who are being driven out of their habitat by farmers protecting their crops, birds pecking each other to death, birds who will not leave a fellow bird behind.so many different birds exemplifying so many different traits of our human characters. but rash pulls it off without it feeling treacly.and the character of chauncey, our "bad guy," is terrific. it's strange that this is the character who seems the most richly drawn and the most nuanced, because he is awful and smarmy and self-aggrandizing and one of those misguided true believers who, if there energy were harnessed towards ANY USEFUL GOAL AT ALL, would be a hero. instead, he is a german-hating pre-nazi, down to the symmetry of his uniform and his desire to burn the german-language books in the library. he's an awful character, but a wonderfully-written character. and definitely my favorite in this book.all the previous "spoilers" in this review were just silly television giggles that i didn't want cheapening the main text of a review of a serious-toned book, but this following one is an actual spoiler about an incredibly small passage in the book, but one that made my heart physically ache with emotion.(view spoiler)[one word: lusitania.that's all. (hide spoiler)] that scene broke my heart and i would have loved more moments like that throughout this fine, but not emotionally jarring, novel.this one didn't kick my reader's ass the way serena did, but it is a very good, quiet piece of writing from an author more people should be reading.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>. The Cove Viral Books This lyrical, heart rending tale, as mesmerizing as its award winning predecessor Serena, shows once again this masterful novelist at the height of his powers.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 theyThis lyrical, heart rending tale, as mesmerizing as its award winning predecessor Serena, shows once again this masterful novelist at the height of his powers.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 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 days 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, an 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 This lyrical, heart rending tale, as mesmerizing as its award winning predecessor Serena, shows once again this masterful novelist at the height of his powers.. Ron Rash is the author of the 2009 PEN Faulkner Finalist and New York Times bestselling novel, Serena, in addition to three other prizewinning novels, One Foot in Eden, Saints at the River, and The World Made Straight three collections of poems and four 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.. Bestseller Book The Cove UPDATED - 4/3/12 - see link at bottomThe Cove, a remote locale in North Carolina, is a cursed place, or so everyone seems to think. The story opens in the 1950s when a man from the TVA comes by, preparing the area for flooding as part of a dam project. That the elders he encounters think burying the cove under tons of water is a good idea offers a first indication of trouble. When the man, trying for a drink in a well near some abandoned buildings at the site, brings up murky water covering a skull, we have our ending point. How we get there is the tale.Rash is a master at setting a mood, a rather dark one here, and he keeps the wires of tension zinging, so you know something bad is gonna go down, but the green light of possibility keeps flapping by, keeping hope alive. That makes The Cove, incredibly rich with imagery and atmosphere, a page-turner of a different sort. This is clearly not an action adventure thriller where the fate of the planet is at stake, but Rash’s ability to portray place and to offer characters that are so richly drawn, so engaging, is such that we keep flying through his tale in order to see whether their world can be saved, or is doomed by a faceless fate.World War I is almost done. Twenty-something Laurel and her brother, Hank, have survived their parents and are trying to make a living on the troubled property the locals call “The Cove.”The air grew dank and dark and even darker as she passed through a stand of hemlocks. Toadstools and witch hazel sprouted on the trail edge, farther down nightshade and then baneberry whose poisonous fruit looked like doll's eyes.Uh oh. Hank had served in WW I, but left a hand behind. Still, he is hale and hearty otherwise, works very hard on their farm and plans to marry. Laurel is doing her washing when she hears the song of a single parakeet. The cove may be the last habitat of this now-extinct bird. What is unusual about what Laurel hears is that parakeets do not appear individually, but only in flocks. She follows the sound and spies a bedraggled young man, calmly making remarkably avian music on his flute. Birds figure prominently in Rash’s beautiful tale. He offers us much information about the Carolina Parakeet, how they behave and how, at least in part, they have come to be as scarce as they are. Unwillingness to leave a fallen comrade behind enters into this, with obvious foreboding. The flutist, Walter, is inspired by the birds, in a possibly magical way, and sees that the cove has more to offer than darkness. The next afternoon he came to a brook and followed it. By then he had begun to feel feverish. A music he'd never heard before rose from the stream. The notes had colors as well as sounds, bright threads woven into the water's flow. Some of that bright water splashed up on the bank. It was green and shimmering and he scooped it up into his palm and it became a feather.Who Walter turns out to be is central to the story, but some might regard it as spoiler material to say too much here, so I am putting that at the bottom of this review for any who might wish to take a look. For now we can get by with the rather obvious intel that Boy with flute meets Girl with purple birthmark and limited prospects.The why of her prospects is a major element. Seems the locals are a superstitious lot. They really do believe the cove is cursed and Laurel’s prominent birthmark labels her in their eyes as personally cursed at least and maybe something much worse. Her intelligence does not matter much to such people. (Reminds me a lot of right-wing talk radio and Tea Party sorts) A group of local women go out of their way to shun Laurel.An image from [Laurel’s] childhood came to her. A hawk had grabbed a baby chick and then lost its grip. The biddy was hurt and bleeding and the other biddies began pecking it. Because that was what biddies did, she’d learned that day. They found one of their own sick or injured and took turns pecking it to death.Epitomizing the dangerous ignorance of the arrogant unknowing is Chauncey, draft dodger of the venal, connected sort, (clearly he had other priorities during The Great War) eager to make political hay and more than happy to whip up some anti-German xenophobia in the service of that cause. He tries to get a local language professor fired for talking with Germans, while fantasizing about his own political future. Chauncey plays a central role when his dark deeds yield trouble beyond his control.Hope and danger, light and dark, good and evil, sanity versus superstition. If Rash were a painter his canvasses would be in the Met. The Cove is so different from his masterpiece, Serena, yet displays the same power, the same delicate skill. Serena told a large tale in big splashes of color, bright reds and blues. The Cove tells its story in small images, and a palette that stays mostly on the dark side with healthy dollops of green to signal the possibilities of life and love. Serena might take up an entire wall, while The Cove would fit in among several in a room. But you would find yourself coming back to look at it again and again, appreciating this, then noticing that. Ron Rash is one of our best writers and The Cove is top-notch work. Where Serena was large, The Cove is a much smaller canvas, but just as satisfying. Personally I would put Rash himself in that other collection, the one in the American Museum of Natural History, in the Hall of Minerals and Gems.Can music, hard work and life overcome darkness, venality and ignorance? The journey to The Cove is a trip worth taking, with a Shakespearean climax that will leave you quivering.Now as for Walter. His character is based on an actual event from the war. A German cruise ship,The Vaterland, had the misfortune of being docked in Hoboken when war broke out. The German crew was stranded. When the USA declared war, long after, many German civilians who had been working on the Vaterland and the dozens of others from stranded German ships were interned, some in North Carolina. This is the camp from which Walter escapes, as detailed in chapter 3. And, obviously, as a German national in the USA during World War I, particularly as an escapee from an internment camp, he needed to lay low, being at rather high risk. UPDATESApril 1, 2012 - Janet Maslin's wonderful review in the NY TimesJune 6, 2017 - I was alerted by GR friend Linda to the following from April 2017 - WCU's Ron Rash wins Guggenheim Fellowship - Rash deserves all the recognition there is, he is a national treasure.
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  1. Ron Rash is the author of the 2009 PEN Faulkner Finalist and New York Times bestselling novel, Serena, in addition to three other prizewinning novels, One Foot in Eden, Saints at the River, and The World Made Straight three collections of poems and four 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.

724 Reply to “The Cove”

  1. UPDATED 4 3 12 see link at bottomThe Cove, a remote locale in North Carolina, is a cursed place, or so everyone seems to think The story opens in the 1950s when a man from the TVA comes by, preparing the area for flooding as part of a dam project That the elders he encounters think burying the cove under tons of water is a good idea offers a first indication of trouble When the man, trying for a drink in a well near some abandoned buildings at the site, brings up murky water covering a skull, we [...]


  2. RON RASH another quietly wonderful book from ron rash, about a couple of outcasts trying to grab a little happiness out of a life filled with loss and lonelinessis one takes place in north carolina during WWI,in a remote and gloamy cove, where a brother and sister live isolated by superstition and circumstances the sister,laurel, has a large purple birthmark believed by the entire outlying town to be a sign of witchcraft,and the cove where the two reside is believed to be haunted after their par [...]



  3. Recently infatuated with southern lit I just had to give Ron Rash a try With racism, poverty superstition the inclusion of an ill fated love affair, slot this one as contemporary southern gothic Yes, it s melancholy and slow paced at the start but so superbly written that it s a joy to read Set at the end of WW1 and told through Laurel s eyes, a simple tale of a birth marked woman shunned by the locals as a witch of her lonely life with only her brother Hank, a wounded WW1 veteran for company vi [...]


  4. This was a wonderful historical story and Ron Rash is a writer to add alongside great southern gothic styled writers Just as many have mentioned Ron Rash strikes up feelings of being present with great writers such as Steinbeck and Cormac McCarthy.This story leaves a mark with characters that are lonely and modest, rich in kindness and deeply warm to others even though they face inequalities due to race, heritage and have been marked in a superstitious ways as cursed A brother and a sister are t [...]


  5. Ron Rash has a sublime sense of place, atmospheric detail and colloquial manners The Appalachian landscapes in his novels are vivid, rugged Colors, smells, and sounds take on a sentient quality, and there s a brutal, timeless delicacy to his terrains Moment to moment, you move from the crest of creation to the threat of destruction His stories convey themselves through the power of domain His latest is a testament to the most fertile aspects of his craft, which shimmer through an otherwise flawe [...]


  6. 3 1 2 stars.The small, isolated community of Mars Hill, North Carolina, continues to cling to the prejudices and Appalachian superstitions of another century in the wake of World War I Its men have been to fight in foreign lands, encountered the awesome terror of modernized warfare, and yet still harbor a profound fear of a young woman who lives sadly and quietly in a place simply known as The Cove Laurel Shelton s life, thanks to the people of Mars Hill, has not been an easy one Marked by the p [...]


  7. This book really got to me when I read it, and it has quietly haunted me ever since I find myself thinking of the characters some times, and still bothered by the ugly truths of prejudice and human nature that the author captured so powerfully I think it s the subtle, quiet power of the book which makes it so effective, and the evocative portrait of the South I have a real love hate relationship with the region I was born in, and Rash captures it perfectly wildness, beauty, spiritbut all twisted [...]


  8. There is Lauren, the wicked witch or so the town thinks with her brother Hank living in the cove Disaster has struck the family several times and now they are ready to work hard and have a better future.This is dark and gloomy, with bits of hope shining through Rash mastery with descriptions, he manages to completely immerse the reader in the environment of the cove You hear the gurgling of the water and feel the sunlight on your face when you look up as the birds take off and make the leaves ru [...]


  9. Ever since reading Serena a couple years ago rushing to get it done before the movie that never materialized , I ve looked forward to Ron Rash The Cove lacks the very sick disturbing main characters found in Serena, but it did offer us Chauncey, a mighty good example of an egomaniac on the verge of doing something truly awful to prove his manliness to the townspeople The main story of the siblings Laurel and Hank taking in a mute vagrant gradually developed into a mesmerizing tale The hatred fo [...]


  10. 3.75 starsAlthough this story takes place during WWI in NC, it reflects the prejudices that still exists today all over the world.I felt the novel stated off slowly and ended too quickly, but the story will remain with me and the writing was beautiful.


  11. First review of 2014wohoo I like to think that I have eclectic reading tastes, meaning that while I have preferences when it comes to my reading choices, I find I like lots of different styles, genres, and stories for lots of different reasons.But this The Cove, this is the kind of book that hits my literary G spot Okay, I know a little crude, too much information, whatever but true.You see, I love Southern Gothic fiction Flannery O Connor, one of my heroines Erskine Caldwell, a genius so it s n [...]


  12. Liked it Didn t love it Some very good writing but felt a little lightweight considering the heavy subject matter And the ending was unsatisfying though I understand what he was doing Probably should have been a deeper, richer, longer story with this plot and these characters.


  13. Readers who prefer atmosphere over action will savor the first 150 pages of The Cove It took me days to get through that first 150 pages, then I blew through the final 100 pages all in one day It s quite a contrast in pacing and tone, and it gets surprisingly suspenseful near the end So have a little patience and your payoff will come After a prologue in which a human skull is found in the cove s well in the 1950s, Ron Rash treats us to a leisurely buildup in which the skull is all but forgotten [...]


  14. I love Southern literature By turns it can be nostalgic, sweet,romantic, brooding, dark.But for me,southern literature always has it s complicated political and social history at it s core The Cove is no different The setting is North Carolina just before the close of WWI A young woman, shunned by the locals as a witch befriends a drifter she happens upon in the cove she calls home As the friendship develops, you can see how this cannot possibly end well, but you are routing for a happy conclusi [...]


  15. I have to thank my GR friends for letting me know that Ron Rash even exists Listened to this on audio which, I admit is one of the weaker audio narrations I ve heard Took me a while to to get into the book, but when I did what a good story.Although the book is set in a small North Carolina town, it s as timely as ever unfortunately It s a tale of the tragic consequences when ignorance, prejudice, and superstition are fueled by hate and pride This book has a beautiful lyricism and I loved the des [...]


  16. The Cove is the first book I ve read by Ron Rash and certainly not the last I have heard Rash s writing style as lyrical arisen from his poetry I say it is clear as a mountain stream as are the story, characters, setting This is also a view of the cruelty of men blinded by hate and prejudice A stranger appears in the lives of a brother and sister, living a farmers life in the Appalacian mountains in the early 1900 s Their lives are simple but fulfilling and this man brings strength and hope but, [...]


  17. The dank and dangerous cylinder of a new well, where the walls could collapse at any moment, crushing the digger in a muddy grave a valley so overwhelmed by a cliff of granite that light shudders and dies in its wet shadow a voice choked from sound, leaving a man trapped in silence a young woman isolated by fear and suspicion in a remote mountain cabin these are the acedian images Ron Rash writes to sobering effect in The Cove.This is a novel of a place seemingly suspended in time, a forgotten h [...]


  18. 2 stars Meh Just ok.This was your classic case of, receiving the unexpected I have heard so many wonderful things about Ron Rash and expected dark southern lit with a poignant plot and atmospheric backdrop What I received instead was a heavy helping of romance with a side of historical fiction and a tiny dash of southern lit To the contrary, some of my favorite reviewers did find this one to be atmospheric Maybe it s me, or maybe it is because I am so familiar with the Appalachian region, but I [...]


  19. Deep in the Appalachian mountains, lies a cove Partially hidden by an over hanging cliff, it is a dark and forbidding place, thought to be haunted by the local townspeople, and the young woman, Laural, who lives there with her brother Hank, a recent wounded veteran of the trenches in France, is thought to be a witch.Laura s and Hank are devoted to each other and they work hard to restore the farm of their parents In doing so, Laura dreams of a better life When a stranger is discovered in the cov [...]


  20. This is one of those books where I just don t understand why people are loving it so much I found it incredibly hard to slog through, full of characters who are so one dimensional I couldn t take them seriously, and set against a backdrop that just didn t impress.Everyone seems to go on about the nature in the book, and how it captures the feel of Appalachia, but I just didn t see it He certainly mentions nature, and goes on about how dark the cove is and how bright it makes the sun feel, but I [...]


  21. The story takes place 3 miles from the town of Mars Hill, NC I live 2 miles from Mars Hill so I keep looking out my windows trying to find the cove that he talks about So far, no luck I m not a great fan of Ron Rash and this one is distracting since it involves so many nearby localities More later So, now I ve finished it and am trying to figure out why I disliked it so much Because it takes place where I live, all of the historical inconsistencies really bothered me He has the French Broad Rive [...]


  22. 3.5 There is no doubt that the strength of Ron Rash s writing lies in his use of regional color, his descriptions of the Appalachians are lush and elegant, just beautiful This books highlights the superstitions of the mountain people, the loneliness of being an outcast, and how even at the end of the war patriotic fever is stirred up The power of secrets and the damages they do all set to beautiful scenery with a very melancholy tone Definitely not your happy ever after book.


  23. Grave and deliberate story set in the Appalachian mountains This is a book though that is not about the story It is about the writing and atmosphere Beautiful and complex Mostly, The Cove is about being an outsider ENJOYp.s reminds me a bit of Nightwoods by Charles Frazier.


  24. The Cove, by Ron Rash, is very different from his previous book, Serena While Serena was chock filled with action and hell and damnation type characters, this book meanders slowly The title of the book refers to one of the lesser used meanings of the word a narrow gap or pass between hills or woods a cave or cavern The place where Laurel and her brother live is dark and eerie without much light, set in the deep forest of North Carolina where once the Carolina Parakeet found its home Nothing but [...]


  25. 4.5 StarsWow It s the prose, really It s lyrical and dark then some light shines through There are really three points of view in this story Laurel is a lonely woman living a sad existence in the cursed cove where both her mother and father died and Laurel herself was pronounced a witch due to a port wine stain on shoulder When she enters town, people cross the street so as not to meet her She is treated with fear and disdain Her prospects of happiness are slim While her brother, who was conscri [...]


  26. Enjoyed this one even than his best known book, Serena, which is being made into a movie starring Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper.Started off quite slowly but developed into a really interesting story once it became clear who Walter was Fascinating true life background story about the Vaterland ship impounded by the US during WW1 plus persecution of German citizens as well.The best novels always have great endings and this one was very clever and satisfying led you to believe that you knew [...]



  27. I recently read Serena also by Ron Rash I was expecting another book of the same intensity and was initially disappointed by how slow The Cove started out and what a different kind of book it is I read a few reviews and was reassured that author Rash was not going to let me down I am glad I stuck with it While I was not completely able to disassociate the two books, it is nice to see an author who can use his writing skills to set such different moods I probably needed space between the books b [...]


  28. Set in the years just following the Great War in North Carolina this story builds atmosphere and tension in almost frustrating way An enigmatic and dumb stranger arrives to a remote town Hank, just back from the war that has left him without an arm, and mentally scarred, has recently married Laurel, who locals believe is a witch The stranger is not welcomed by all, the contrasting characters of the town are suspicious of him In some ways the time that Rash takes to build the tension is too long, [...]


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