The Cove by Ron Rash

72%

29 Critic Reviews

There are indeed greater forces controlling the destinies of Chauncey and Walter and Laurel. But as Shakespearean as his tendencies may be, Rash makes us well aware that there is nothing otherworldly about the influences that shape the fortunes.
-Toronto Star

Synopsis

“Set during World War One, The Cove is a novel that speaks intimately to today’s politics. Beautifully written, tough, raw, uncompromising, entirely new. Ron Rash is a writer’s writer who writes for others.”
—Colum McCann

“Ron Rash is a writer of both the darkly beautiful and the sadly true; The Cove solidifies his reputation as one of our very finest novelists.”
—Richard Russo, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Empire Falls

Here is a magnificent tale that captures the wondrous beauty of nature and love—and the darkness of superstition and fear—from one of America’s most exciting contemporary novelists. With The Cove, Ron Rash, author of the acclaimed New York Times bestseller Serena, returns to the Appalachian milieu he has previously so memorably evoked. A two-time O. Henry Prize winner for his short fiction—and recipient of the 2010 Frank O’Connor International Story Award and the 2010 SIBA Book Award for his story collection Burning Bright—Rash can expect more honors for The Cove, a novel that brilliantly explores often dangerous notions of patriotism during wartime. This story of a love affair doomed in the rising turmoil of WWI resonates powerfully in today’s world.

 

About Ron Rash

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Ron Rash's Burning Bright won the 2010 Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award. "Into the Gorge" garnered a second O. Henry Prize for Rash, and, along with "The Ascent," was selected for the Best American Short Stories series. Those stories and "Back of Beyond" were also selected for the Best New Stories from the South series. 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 three collections of stories, among them Chemistry and Other Stories, which was a finalist for the 2007 PEN/Faulkner Award. He teaches at Western Carolina University.
 
Published April 10, 2012 by Ecco. 277 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Critic reviews for The Cove
All: 29 | Positive: 22 | Negative: 7

Kirkus

Excellent
Reviewed by Kirkus Review on Mar 15 2012

Lonely young woman meets mysterious stranger. What might have been trite and formulaic is anything but in Rash’s fifth novel, a dark tale of Appalachian superstition and jingoism so good it gives you chills.

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Guardian

Excellent
Reviewed by Ursula Le Guin on Mar 16 2012

The greatest pleasure in it for me was the clear, rather mannered cadence of the prose and the author's fine ear for the speech rhythms of the rural South.

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Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Tim Adams on Mar 10 2012

...because of its simplicity, the hard-won elegance of its telling, it stays singularly in the mind after it has finished.

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NY Times

Excellent
Reviewed by Janet Maslin on Apr 01 2012

Resolution, when it arrives, is swift, brutal and unexpected. A breathless sequence of events lead the book to its devastating final sentence.

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Toronto Star

Above average
Reviewed by Stephen Finucan on Apr 14 2012

There are indeed greater forces controlling the destinies of Chauncey and Walter and Laurel. But as Shakespearean as his tendencies may be, Rash makes us well aware that there is nothing otherworldly about the influences that shape the fortunes.

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Star Tribune

Below average
Reviewed by David Dooby on Apr 06 2012

Still, when all is said and done, it's hard not to wonder if the best plan for the cove is one we learn about in the prologue of the book set in the 1950s, years after Laurel, Hank and Walter are gone: Flood it, turn it into a lake and trap all of its stories inside.

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The Washington Post

Below average
Reviewed by Ron Charles on Apr 03 2012

Only at the very end do these pages ignite, and suddenly we’re racing through a conflagration of violence that no one seems able to control except Rash.

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USA Today

Excellent
Reviewed by Charles Finch on Oct 10 2012

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.

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The Independent

Excellent
Reviewed by Doug Johnstone on Mar 25 2012

This is as patient, understated, precise and controlled a narrative as you'll read anywhere.

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Oregon Live

Excellent
Reviewed by Jeff Baker on Apr 28 2012

"The Cove" is never less than a pleasure to read because of Rash's rhythmic, sharply observed prose

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Open Letters Monthly

Below average
Reviewed by Lisa Peet on May 15 2012

The ways in which world events and rural town life weave together, their convergences and consequences, makes for a good parable. But I think more subtly drawn characters, with messier edges, would have taken The Cove beyond a moral tale and a simple love story.

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Deseret News

Excellent
Reviewed by Steve Larson on May 06 2012

"The Cove" is a beautifully written book that uses heartfelt characters to describe the difficult life of a lonely, misunderstood young woman.

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Salon

Excellent
Reviewed by Katherine Powers on Apr 28 2012

Indeed, Rash’s material detail, depiction of work and evocation of place — of nature, woods and stream, the play of light and the oppressive dark of the monstrous cliff — are truly splendid.

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Tulsa World

Excellent
Reviewed by Amanda St. Amand on Apr 29 2012

This is a tale of treachery, superstition and fear, but Rash tells it well, bringing Laurel, Hank, Walter and the cowardly Chauncey to vivid life.

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Shelf Awareness

Excellent
Reviewed by Harvey Freedenberg on Apr 17 2012

That strong sense of place might cause some to pigeonhole Ron Rash as a "regional" writer, but with The Cove, he leaves the strong impression he's only begun to mine a rich lode of memory and imagination his region has delivered to him

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Peeking Between the Pages

Good
Reviewed by Darlene on Apr 09 2012

It is a story that builds upon itself in the most interesting way and keeps your attention throughout.

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Beth Fish Reads

Good
Reviewed by Beth Fish on Apr 20 2012

A truly great novel is more than believable characters, a vivid setting, and a well-crafted plot.

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Bookfoolery and Babble

Below average
Reviewed by Bookfool on May 03 2012

the ending definitely did surprise me. It just wasn't a surprise I liked.

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The Picky Girl

Good
Reviewed by Jenn on Apr 17 2012

The Cove is a novel of hope and dread, ignorance and truth, prejudice and acceptance, evocative of place and time.

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Tina's Book Reviews

Below average
Reviewed by Tina on May 07 2012

Everything is chilly in this book, letters upon letters almost rain off the page, its story will leave you emotionally rattled and the chill seeped into your bones.

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Lit and Life

Good
Reviewed by Lisa on Apr 24 2012

The Cove is a book I couldn't put down and was sorry to see end.

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West Metro Mommy

Good
Reviewed by Melinda Ott on Apr 26 2012

It would have been very easy for Rash to take the easy way out on this book and make this into a simple love story. Instead, he carries the plot out to the very last page in a very satisfying, abeit heart-breaking, end.

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Layers of Thought

Good
Reviewed by Shellie on May 22 2012

This was a romantic, tragic page-turning novel for me. It was easy to read, lyrical, and heartrending.

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The Mookse and the Gripes

Below average
Reviewed by Mookse on May 01 2012

Still, in the end I was disappointed that even the threat to their happiness was predictably plotted. I didn’t particularly enjoy the book.

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Wales Arts Review

Good
Reviewed by Jim Morphy

While Rash’s ending offers us a small comfort or two, the real afterglow is in the realisation of having read a work of absolute stone-cold genius.

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Creative Loafing

Good
Reviewed by John Grooms on May 29 2012

Rash's writing here is, as usual, simple, incisive and beautiful. Quick phrases and deft descriptions manage to illuminate a whole culture, its thoughts and ways of life. Yes, he's that good.

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Chalk the Sun

Good
Reviewed by Julie Christine on May 19 2012

Despite some of weaker character development, this reader is delighted to have discovered a writer who can craft a powerful story with captivating language.

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Life in Review

Good
Reviewed by Michelle V on Apr 23 2012

I very highly recommend this book! The writing is breathtakingly beautiful. The characters are vivid and real.

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Schleicher Spin

Below average
Reviewed by David Schleicher on May 01 2012

The Cove is a quick read. It’s a good read, albeit a bit shallower than we are used to from Mr. Rash.

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Reader Rating for The Cove
76%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 295 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


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Terri McGinty 23 May 2013

Rated the book as 4.5 out of 5

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